Virus on my keyboard, really?
Did you know that your keyboard and mouse are covered with bacteria and viruses? This may sound obvious when we think about it. Using computers is very common and the risk to be infected seems banal. However, in certain environments such as hospitals this contamination could reveal critical.
In fact, many bacteria and virus breaks have been associated with computers. It’s the case for a hospital in Great Britain, where a study revealed that 42% of tested keyboards were contaminated with the MRSA bacteria, which was directly related to higher MRSA infections as compared to other hospitals where keyboard contamination was lower (1). Another study carried out in Great Britain found that keyboards had been a breeding-ground for the norovirus, which then lead to a break of gastro-enteritis. A virus transmitted from computers to humans… who would’ve thought about that!
Don’t panic, solutions exist!
First and unforgettable is hand washing. In order to limit bacteria and virus spreads, hand washing is essential. Then, to avoid washing our hands every time we use a computer, an alcohol-based antiseptic liquid would do the trick. If our hands are dirty, washing hands before touching the keyboard is also recommended. Finally, it is wise to disinfect your keyboard and mouse from time to time. A renowned researcher named William Rutala, or Bill for his friends, has demonstrated that computer keyboards do not seem to deteriorate after being cleaned 300 times with different disinfectant solutions.
Long story short, we often forget daily objects as being a breeding-ground for viruses and bacteria. For example, mobile phones are often neglected as well despite the fact that we touch them and constantly put them on our face.
But no need to become hypochondriac, it’s enough to follow basic preventive measures. In other words, make little changes and set frequent disinfections based on the risk associated with your environment.
(1). Devine J., Is methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ward-based computer terminals a surrogate marker for nosocomial MRSA transmission and handwashing compliance? J Hosp Infect. 2001;48:72-5
(2). Morter S., et coll. Norovirus in the hospital setting: virus introduction and spread within the hospital environment. J. Hosp Infect. 2011 Feb;77(2):106-12