Shoppers have been warned after faeces and vomit-inducing bugs were found on UK supermarket self-checkout till.
Researchers at the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) analysed swabs from several everyday objects, revealing that self-checkouts had a particularly high viral load.
Swabs of the screens also found E.coli, which causes vomiting and was on nearly all other surfaces, as well as faeces and microbes which lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
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Elsewhere, a bug that can cause yeast infections was discovered on an escalator handrail while intestinal microbes that cause a range of infections were found on computer keyboards.
Chief researcher Dr Adam Roberts: “The self-checkout samples had one of the highest bacterial loads, as we found five different types of potential disease-causing bacteria surviving on them. This included Enterococcus which is found in human faeces and, while this is usually harmless, it can of course lead to disease, particularly in those who may have weakened immune systems.
“We found multiple examples of E. coli and a bacteria called Klebsiella on computer keyboards. While both exist naturally in faeces and intestines, given the right environment, they are able to cause quite severe diseases in humans, so it’s vital that we wash our hands before and after eating when working at the computer.”
Dr Roberts said it was important for shoppers to regularly wash their hands, particularly after going to the bathroom.
He added: “It’s vital to try to minimise their effects in terms of infection prevention and control, so when we touch our mouths or go to the toilet and don’t wash our hands, we’ve likely got bacteria from these places on our hands which can then transfer to other things – and subsequently to other people.
“If those individuals are more susceptible to infection than you are, there may be a problem.”
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