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Toilet Seats are Cleaner than Keyboards or Telephone Dials

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NEW YORK, March 11 (AFP) - Keyboards, computer mice and telephone dials are more infested with microbes than toilet seats, according to a University of Arizona study.

The study recommends that office work stations be regularly disinfected since they can on average contain 400 times as many germs as a toilet seat, said Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist.

According to the study, telephones harbored up to 25,127 germs per square inch, keyboards 3,295 and computer mice 1,676. The average office contains 20, 961 germs per square inch.

"Desks are really bacteria cafeterias," Gerba said in a press release. "They are breakfast bars, lunch tables and everything else, as we spend more hours at the office.

"When someone is infected with a cold or flu bug, the surfaces they touch during the day become germ transfer points because some cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours," he added. "An office can become an incubator."

US health officials last month warned about the dissemination of germs during the flu season.

Officials reminded Americans to cover their nose and mouth while sneezing, wash their hands regularly and use disinfectant swabs to clean their office desks.



COPYRIGHT 2004 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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