One sick coworker can contaminate an office
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Feb 05, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

One sick coworker can contaminate an office

Our London

By Theresa Boyle

More than half of commonly touched surfaces in an office can become contaminated by a single person going to work sick, new research from the University of Arizona shows.

The study was done in a university office and involved some 80 participants. One participant received a droplet of fluid on the hand that contained artificial viruses.

Four hours later, researchers tested the participants’ hands and commonly touched surfaces, including doorknobs, copy machine buttons and the office refrigerator. They found that more than 50 per cent of surfaces and employees were infected with at least one of the viruses.

“We were actually quite surprised by how effectively everything spread,” said Kelly Reynolds, an associate professor of public health and one of the study’s principal investigators.

Researchers calculated that employees faced a 40 to 90 per cent chance of infection with one of the three viruses. When participants were given tissues, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, and told to wash their hands, the risk of infection dropped below 10 per cent.

- Torstar News Service

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