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Sneezing and Germs
"Respiratory viruses cause sneezing and coughing...Nasal secretions [from sneezing] can travel at a velocity of over 20 meters per second and a distance greater than three meters (about 10 feet) to contaminate surrounding fomites [or surfaces]."
- "Significance of Fomites in the Spread of Respiratory and Enteric Viral Disease"
by Stephanie A. Boone and Charles P. Gerba, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721
By CIRI Staff
A study which investigated germs collected on footwear, by Dr. Charles Gerba, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, and The Rockport® Company, found large numbers of bacteria both on the bottom and inside of shoes; averaging 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe and 2,887 on the inside. Some of the bacteria found on the shoes included: Escherichia coli, known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds.
The goal of the study was to verify bacteria levels on footwear and the effectiveness of machine washable shoes in reducing those levels inside and outside the shoe surface. The project also investigated the role of shoes in the movement of bacteria from contaminated floor spaces to other surfaces.
The Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) is a 501.c.3 not-for-profit scientific, educational and research organization that applies science to the practice and improvement of cleaning and maintenance.
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