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Airport seats harbour more germs than public toilets29th of June 2011
Seats on aeroplanes and in airport lounges harbour more bacteria than toilet seats, according to tests carried out in the US.
And a hire car tested also showed high levels of organisms including E.coli and faecal matter.
The small-scale study was carried out on seats at 12 sites by a team from the ABC television show Good Morning America. Other sites tested included a hotel room, hotel lobby, restaurant and toilet seat as well as seats on an underground train and in a private car.
Around 28 per cent of the seats tested contained traces of E. coli while more than half - 52 per cent - showed indications of fecal matter. Worst offenders were seats on an aeroplane, in an airport lounge, in a hire car, in a cinema and on a park bench. However, bacteria levels were relatively lower in the other sites tested - including the toilet seat.
However, the risk of illness from contaminated seats can be avoided according to Good Morning America's team of experts.
"Luckily we don't lick seats: we sit on seats so the real cross-contamination point is our hands," they claim. "For that, the solution is simple: Wash your hands thoroughly after you sit in a public seat, especially before eating. If you don't have access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser solution is effective in killing germs."