Warning: Don't Touch That Mouse - InformationWeek
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2/15/2006
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Warning: Don't Touch That Mouse

Internet cafe computer mice are the second most bacteria-carrying item found in public facilities, a Korean study showed this week.

Internet cafe computer mice are the second most bacteria-carrying item found in public facilities, surpassing toilet doorknobs and hand straps on busses, a study showed.

The only item found by the Korea Consumer Protection Board to carry more bacteria than a cafe mouse were handles on shopping carts, The Korea Times reported this week. Many of the items tested were found to have staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that can cause infections if contact is made with a skin wound.

The Korean consumer board examined bacteria contamination in 120 items at public places in the Seoul metropolitan area. The government organization found an average of 1,100 colony-forming units (CFUs) of bacteria per 10 square centimeters on cart handles, followed by 690 CFUs on cafe mice, and 380 CFUs on bus straps.

Toilet doorknobs were the fourth most contaminated item with 340 CFUs, and elevator buttons were fifth with 130 CFUs.

The best way to prevent contamination from bacteria is to do what your mom always said: Wash your hands. The Korean board, however, found that most people don't listen to their mom.

More than 77 percent of people were aware of the importance of washing their hands, but only 47.9 percent did so after using public facilities.

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