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A surprising place the dreaded MRSA superbug may be lurking

I don’t usually recommend using antibacterial wipes.

For one thing, they help promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But when you’re on a plane — well, that looks like a different story.

A recent study found disease germs can linger for days on airline cabin seat backs and armrests.

The one that lived longest was the dreaded superbug MRSA. It survived an entire week on seat back pocket material. Another really scary pathogen, a strain of E coli, stayed alive for 96 hours on fabric from an armrest.

Such microbes “pose a risk of transmission via skin contact,” said the researcher who presented the findings.

Research is continuing with other types of disease germs, including the ones that cause tuberculosis. And future plans call for looking into “effective cleaning and disinfection strategies” for airline cabins.

But until they find that “effective” way to clean to clean the inside of a plane, it looks like we have to take matters into our own hands — literally!

So even if you also don’t typically use germ wipes, get some before your next plane trip and wipe down any areas you may be touching during the trip.

Because even if people in the seats next to you seem healthy, you never know about the ones who were sitting there before you got on.


“Harmful bacteria can linger on airplane seat-back pockets, armrests for days” May 20, 2014, Science Daily,