Which airport surface harbours most respiratory viruses?

A shot of hand sanitiser could help stem infections, say authors

Next time you fly, approach airport security plastic security tubs cautiously, with a recent study showing these trays boast the highest levels of respiratory viruses at an international airport.

British and Finnish researchers swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during a winter flu epidemic in 2016, to identify and quantify the respiratory viruses on frequently touched surfaces in airports.

They found the trays at X-ray were the most contaminated surfaces.

Four of eight swabs taken from the plastic bins had evidence of a respiratory virus.

“These boxes typically cycle with high frequency to subsequent passengers, and are typically seized with a wide palm surface area and strong grip,” they wrote in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Children’s toys, the buttons of a payment terminal at a pharmacy and the handrails of stairs were among other key hot spots.