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Study Shows College Students Are Not Following CDC Recommendations to Help Protect Themselves from H1N1 and Other Threatening Germs
Date:9/29/2009

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of bacteria lurk in college dormitories, but students are not following proper hygiene routines to help protect themselves from serious illness, according to a study released today from the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, sponsored by an educational grant from LYSOL® brand products.(1) Despite growing concerns about influenza A (H1N1) on college campuses and recent study results estimating that of the ways influenza infection may be contracted, contact with contaminated surfaces may account for thirty one percent (31%) of the infection risk, only sixty three percent (63%) of students polled had cleaned their dorm room in the past week.(2) Eighty three percent (83%) had never cleaned their light switch and seventy three percent (73%) admitted they had never cleaned their dorm room door handle, one of the most frequently-touched surfaces and a conduit for germ spread.(3)

Such habits expose students to thousands of bacteria, including MRSA, E. coli, fecal organisms, streptococcus and more, just by touching common surfaces in their dorm.(4) Study results show:

  • Communal shower floors were the most contaminated surface in the dorm, harboring more than 40 times the number of bacteria found on the toilet seat.(5) Forty three percent (43%) of shower floors were contaminated with bacteria that can indicate fecal contamination and twenty percent (20%) hid streptococci.
  • Dorm room refrigerator door handles harbored twice as many bacteria as shared dorm toilet handles. Thirty seven percent (37%) encountered bacteria that can indicate fecal contamination and thirteen percent (13%) encountered staph.(6)
  • Fifty six percent (56%) of students admitted they had never cleaned the interior of their dorm room refrigerator, making it no surprise that thirty percent (30%) of refrigerators harbored fecal indicators.(7)
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