Study: Airplane Tray Tables Carry Much More Than Your Soda And Pretzels


We already know that planes are airborne petri dishes, and that one open-mouthed sneeze can spread influenza through a cabin faster than you can say “Blue Christmas.” But a new study suggests that it’s not so much what you inhale on planes that causes the really big problems, but what you touch.

Researchers from Auburn University dabbed surfaces in an airplane with two especially virulent bugs: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (better known as the superbug MRSA, which kills about 19,000 people in the U.S. every year), andE. coli bacteria, a germ responsible for abdominal cramping, nausea and diarrhea. The goal of the experiment–conducted on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration–was to find out how long these germs can survive and remain transmittable in the cabin of a typical airplane.

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