Bacteria on the keyboard

On some computer keyboards, there are more germs than on the domestic toilet seat. It's not just harmless pathogens. Regular cleaning of the computer keyboard and the mouse is therefore highly recommended. The British consumer magazine "Which?" made the test at the beginning of 2008 the test and came to partly terrifying results.

Keyboard hazardous to health?

Some computer keyboards were found to be more contaminated with bacteria during the investigation than a similarly examined toilet seat and were therefore potentially seriously harmful to health. Eating on the PC, dust particles and abstaining from washing hands after a visit to the toilet are considered to be the most important causes of a bacterial biotope on the keyboard.

British consumer advocates, together with a microbiologist, examined more than 30 keyboards from their own office. The majority passed the hygiene test, but individual keyboards were so heavily contaminated with bacteria that their users were at risk of serious stomach upset, as long as the pathogens reached the organism via their fingers.

Uncleaned keyboards

Four keyboards went down because of health hazards. Two of them had far exceeded the staphylococcal warning level, another keyboard had 150 times as many germs as allowed. This keyboard was five times more contaminated with bacteria than a toilet seat that was also examined and was associated with an increased risk of food poisoning, stomach upset or diarrhea.

The biggest source of dirt and bacteria on keyboards is meals taken directly from the desk above the keyboard. The remaining leftovers favor the growth of germs, the magazine said.

Potential health risk

Also a sample of the television consumer magazine "market" of the WDR (broadcast from 31.3.2008) had already made a test before and found out that PC keyboards can be true breeding places for bacteria. Especially where many people use a keyboard, for example in schools, offices or internet cafés, pathogens could spread through them, according to consumer advocates. Together with Professor Hans-Jürgen Tietz from the Institute for Fungal Diseases (Berlin), 20 keyboard samples from internet cafés and offices were examined. Result: 18 of them were burdened.

Found puddle germs that are resistant to many disinfectants and can cause infections; Fecal bacteria, many of which are known to be pathogenic to humans (eg, Escherichia coli); Pests bacteria (eg Staphylococcus aureus), which can lead to skin infections (boils) in humans and in one case also a nail fungus.

However, the TV magazine "Markt" and Professor Tietz gave, despite their findings, fundamental all-clear: As long as only healthy people work on the PCs, they are usually not get sick by these germs. But they are germ carriers and potential germ carriers. For the sick, weakened or vulnerable persons this could become a problem. They should not come in contact with the germs.

Danger from keyboards in hospitals

For years in the clinics computer z. For example, documentation has been introduced - and thus potential dangers especially for the sick. In the cracks of the keyboard often germs, which in turn can be transmitted from the hands of the staff.

This can be particularly fatal in intensive care units, where patients are often seriously ill and therefore also weakened. In addition, various cannulas, probes and catheters provide germs with easy access to the body. For example, American scientists have shown that more microorganisms live on the keyboard than on other items in the patient room and that multi-drug resistant bacteria can survive there for more than 24 hours.

Clean the keyboard - this is how it works!

For basic cleaning of a keyboard (and mouse), a damp cloth moistened in alcohol (or glass cleaner!) Is suitable; only a good disinfectant helps against fungi. Various cleaning utensils are available from specialist retailers. There are also special hygiene keyboards with a germicidal, antibacterial surface coating.

Sources:

  • Bures S, Fishbain JT, Uyehara CF, Parker JM, Mountain BW. Computer keyboards and faucet handles as reservoirs of nosocomial pathogens in the intensive care unit. Am.J.Infect.Control 2000; 28: 465-71
  • Devine J, Cooke RP, Wright EP. Is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination-based computer terminals a surrogate marker for nosocomial MRSA transmission and handwashing compliance? J.Hosp.Infect. 2001; 48: 72-5
  • Neely AN, Maley MP. Dealing with contaminated computer keyboards and microbial survival. Am.J.Infect.Control 2001; 29: 131-2
  • Noskin, GA Hospital. Hosp.Health Netw. 2005; 79 [5], 81-82
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