Airports filthy?

Statistically speaking it's the safest way to travel, just watch out for germs

How airports clean up - Stuck at the Airport

My "At the Airport" column for USA TODAY this month is all about germs at airports and how crews use high and low tech ways to clean things up.

Here's a slightly shortened version of that story:

As we head into the busy summer trael season, recent news reports about bed bugs found at Kansas City International Airport and an unscientific but widely-shared 'study ' highlighting germy spots in airports has many travelers worried they'll unintentionally pick up something besides snacks and bottled water in the terminals this summer.

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'Half of airport security trays' contaminated with traces of cold or flu viruses

"Airport security trays carry more viruses than toilet surfaces," reports The Guardian. Scientists took samples from various surfaces at Finland's main international airport in Helsinki during the height of its 2016 flu season. They found that 4 out of the 8 frequently-handled trays tested were contaminated with traces of respiratory viruses such as common cold and flu.

They also found traces of viruses on children's toys in a play area, handrails for stairs, glass security screens at passport control, and on the chip-and-pin machine in the airport's pharmacy.

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Beware! Those airport security trays carry more germs than public toilets

You would certainly want to avoid one particular place at the airport - if you want to stay away from those filthy germs and bacteria. According to a new research, the plastic trays that passengers put their hand luggage in at airport security checkpoints have been found to carry the highest levels of viruses than public toilets.

The researchers with the University of Nottingham and Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare found that such trays harbour dozens of pathogens that cause a number of diseases, ranging from the common cold and flu to pneumonia, bladder infections, SARS and even brain damage.For the current work, the team of researchers swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.

They found evidence of viruses on 10 per cent of the surfaces tested and most commonly on the plastic trays at the security check. These trays are usually circulated along the passenger queue at the hand luggage X-ray checkpoint.

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