Auburn University researchers study airplane cabin bacteria

An Auburn University study determined bacteria remain for up to a week on airplane cabin surfaces such as armrests, tray tables, seat pockets, window shades and toilet buttons.

The findings from the two-year study were presented this week at an American Society for Microbiology meeting. The study funded by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airline Cabin Environmental Research Center found that the superbug MRSA survived for 168 hours, while E.coli survived for 96 hours.

“The point of this study is not to be alarmist, but to point out to the airlines the importance of providing a sanitary environment for travelers,” said Auburn University professor Jim Barbaree in a written statement. The researchers are also investigating how long pathogens that cause diseases such as tuberculosis can survive.

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