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Shoppers warned of mall germs6th of December 2011
People carrying out their Christmas shopping at the local mall should avoid touching the food court tables, washroom sinks, escalator handrails and ATM keypads, according to experts.
Along with fitting rooms, toy stores, make-up tables and gadget shops, these are among the most germ-infested areas of a typical shopping centre.
US microbiology experts have been warning shoppers about the risks to their health in the run-up to Christmas. Malls are a hotbed of germs due to the large number of people using them according to Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone medical centre. "Anywhere that people gather is filled with bacteria and viruses and a crowded shopping mall is a perfect example," he said.
Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, highlighted the risks associated with touching washroom sinks - and the taps in particular - since these are often touched immediately after using the toilet.
"The sink area is a moist environment, so bacteria can survive longer there," he said. Experts suggest that shoppers should bring their own disinfectant wipes to the mall to ensure the objects they touch are clear of bacteria and viruses.