The community of bacteria in an aircraft at 30,000 feet has much in common with homes and offices.
Germaphobes who are extra-careful in airplanes may be relieved to find out that airplanes are no ‘dirtier’ than everyday spaces.
Researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University found that microbiomes at a height of 30,000 feet is not different compared to bacteria in homes.
Through advanced sequencing technology, bacteria were found in three components of an airline cabin.
Tray tables, seats, buckles and handles of lavatory doors were looked at as they are commonly touched by passengers. Researchers examined those items before and after ten flights and sampled the air in rear of cabin.
'Airline passengers should not be frightened by sensational stories about germs on a plane,' said Vicki Stover Hertzberg, a professor in Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and a co-author of the study.
'They should recognize that microbes are everywhere and that an airplane is no better and no worse than an office building, a subway car, home or a classroom. These environments all have microbiomes that look like places occupied by people.'