Beware of bacteria on keyboards: Can cause respiratory infections

Against bacteria and fungi that are common in common areas, Prof. Dr. Mesut Yilmaz has warned. Prof. Dr. Yılmaz emphasized that common areas such as public toilets, gyms and office rest areas are hotspots for bacteria and fungi, Yılmaz said: “These areas are generally high traffic and many contact areas and provide an ideal environment for the growth and spread of microorganisms. Bacteria and fungi can be spread in a variety of ways, from direct contact with contaminated surfaces to airborne transmission via coughing and sneezing. This makes communal areas a prime location for the spread of infectious diseases such as colds, flu, and skin infections. Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment in common areas is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi.


Stating that molds and bacteria are microorganisms that can be found everywhere in indoor and outdoor environments, Prof. Dr. stated “Exposure to these microorganisms can lead to respiratory and other health effects similar to allergic reactions in non- -atopic persons. Also, some fungi and bacteria can cause infections such as valley fever, lung infections such as histoplasmosis and blastomycosis, which have similar symptoms to bacterial infections. However, antibiotics do not work for yeast infections, and for yeast infections it is important to test early, reduce unnecessary antibiotic use, and allow treatment with antifungal medication if necessary. “In addition, interactions between bacteria and fungi can affect the microbial communities of the human microbiota, leading to changes in the microbiota associated with many human diseases such as diabetes, cancer and colitis.”


Pointing out that computer mice and keyboards used in offices can pose a risk of illness, said Prof. Dr. “These devices are often touched by more than one person and can harbor a variety of bacteria and fungi, including potentially harmful ones. Some of the most common bacteria on computer mice and keyboards are Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. These bacteria can cause skin infections, urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal disorders. Also, molds such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Penicillium chrysogenum have been found in computer equipment and can cause respiratory infections in people with compromised immune systems. To reduce the risk of infection from computer equipment, it is important to regularly clean and disinfect these devices, especially in communal environments such as offices or public computer labs. In addition, hands should be washed regularly, touching the face should be avoided and hand hygiene should be observed.


The common areas that need the most attention against the risk of mold and bacteria are Prof. Dr. Yilmaz explained:

“One of the areas that is generally considered a high-risk area is the bathroom, especially public bathrooms with multiple cubicles or facilities. Bathrooms can harbor a variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses such as diarrhea, norovirus, E. Coli, salmonella, and urinary tract infections. Studies show that there are about 200 million bacteria on each hand after entering shared toilets. Studies have shown that washing hands with soap and water can reduce bacteria counts by as much as 2 log 10. Another area to watch out for is the communal kitchens and break rooms. These areas can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, especially if food is left out or stored improperly. Bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli can contaminate food and cause foodborne illness. In addition, surfaces such as counters, refrigerator handles, and microwave knobs can become contaminated with these bacteria and viruses, which can lead to infection. High traffic areas such as offices, schools and public transport can harbor a variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses such as the flu, the common cold and strep throat. Proper cleaning and disinfection of all common surfaces including toilets, sinks, doorknobs, light switches can help reduce the risk of contamination.


Noting that public transport vehicles such as buses, trains and subways are high-risk areas for disease transmission, Prof. Dr. Yılmaz said: “Studies have shown that public transport vehicles may harbor various bacteria and viruses which can cause illnesses such as flu, colds and respiratory infections. One of the main risk factors for disease transmission on public transport is proximity to passengers, which increases the likelihood of respiratory droplets spreading from one person to another. In addition, many passengers may touch common surfaces, such as handrails, seats and doors, which can become contaminated with bacteria and viruses and potentially lead to infection. There are several aspects to consider in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission in public transport. First, passengers should wash their hands with soap and water and use hand sanitizer if water is not available. In addition, passengers should not touch their faces and avoid close contact as much as possible. Public transport authorities, on the other hand, can take steps to improve cleaning and disinfection and reduce crowds,” he concluded.

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