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Public transport heads list of bacteria worries ahead of flu season

Published 7th January, 2013 by Neil Nixon

Public transport heads list of bacteria worries ahead of flu season

As the flu season gets underway, public transport such as buses, trains and tubes head the list of places where people most worry about catching viruses and infections, according to new research by Microban. 49% of 1000 people surveyed were ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about levels of bacteria on buses, 46% on trains, 45% on tube trains, 43% on planes , 42% on coaches and 40% in taxis.

The flu season in the UK normally gets underway as temperatures start to drop in late November and December and carries through until March, points out antibacterial technology specialist Microban, which commissioned the research. Alison Southcombe, director of marketing of the company, said: “Everyone knows that sinking feeling when you get on a bus or a train during rush hour and the person you are jammed against starts sneezing and coughing. You think, ‘me next.’ There is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that public transport is a hot spot for bacterial cross-contamination with one study even suggesting that you are six times as likely to get certain respiratory illnesses if you have recently used a bus.

Our new research shows that passengers are worried and this could well be justified. Even if the bus or train company is very thorough in their cleaning, there is a considerable likelihood of cold and flu bacteria on surfaces such as grab handles and seats, especially during flu season. We believe that there is considerable potential for the use of antibacterial technology in the public transport sector and that it could be effective in both reducing infection rates and passenger concerns.”

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