Clean hands and keyboards cut health risks

May 14, 2012
Clean hands and keyboards cut health risks

(Medical Xpress) -- Using simple ethanol-based hand sanitisers and regular cleaning with ethanol wipes can dramatically reduce bacteria on shared computer keyboards.

A study conducted by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology's Environment and Biotechnology Centre has proven that these simple measures led to a to a reduced potential health risk.

The study is a follow-up to an earlier study investigating the number and type of microorganisms on the keyboards of computers at multiple-user facilities at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus.

The keyboard and mouse of ten computers in a shared lab were selected at random and sampled every Friday over five weeks. At first all were found to be contaminated with both coliforms, a commonly used bacterial indicator of sanitary quality of foods and water, and staphylococci, a common cause of food poisoning.

After two weeks, a commercial ethanol-based was introduced into the lab and users were asked to sanitise their hands before using a computer terminal. Half of the computers were also cleaned using commercial antibacterial wipes.

Over the next two weeks no coliforms were detected on the computers, indicating that hand sanitation alone was effective.

Staphylococci were not totally eliminated from the computers, but their levels were reduced.

"High use, multiple user and computer labs are potential hot spots for harbouring and spreading disease" said Associate Professor Enzo Palombo, one of the study's authors. "Organizations should be more rigorous in keeping shared equipment clean.

"Our recommendation is that hand sanitisers be made available and users be encouraged to clean their hands before and after using shared computers."

Explore further: Chemistry professor links feces and caffeine

More information: The study has been published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Related Stories

Chemistry professor links feces and caffeine

November 22, 2011
Researchers led by Prof. Sébastien Sauvé of the University of Montreal's Department of Chemistry have discovered that traces of caffeine are a useful indicator of the contamination of our water by sewers. "E coli ...

Recommended for you

When traveling on public transport, you may want to cover your ears

November 22, 2017
The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access ...

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses

November 22, 2017
Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.