Superbugs e. coli and MRSA invade airplanes

Deadly bacteria like e. coli and mrsa can survive for several days on airplanes. (5/21/14)

YONKERS - Air travelers are being warned about some potentially deadly superbugs on planes.

A new study says that bacteria can survive for several days on surfaces that all of us touch when we're on a plane.

Researchers at Auburn University say two potentially deadly bacteria, e. coli and MRSA, can live on various surfaces inside an airplane's cabin, and how easily they are transmitted by contact.

The study used actual armrests, toilet flush handles, tray tables, window shades, seats and seat pockets, inoculating them with bacteria and storing them in conditions meant to simulate a pressurized cabin: 75 degrees Fahrenheit at 20-percent humidity. Results found MRSA, a bug resistant to most anti-biotics, can live on a jet's seat back pockets for up to a week. A deadly type of e-coli can survive on armrests for up to four days, up to three days on a plane's tray table, and on toilet handles for two days.

Doctors recommend using alcohol-based wipes to clean any surfaces that you might touch and use hand sanitizer to clean your hands after flights.

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