4 most germ-ridden places for infection spread in offices

As flu season rages on and a number of Americans admit to working while sick, office employees should be wary of the most-germ ridden surfaces they encounter during their workday, CBS News reports.

Chris Mason, PhD, a geneticist at New York City-based Weill Cornell Medicine, used a four-step method known as shotgun sequencing to swab workplace areas where viruses and bacteria may be concealed.

Dr. Mason identified "high touch" surfaces such as door handles, kitchen sinks and elevator buttons as areas where offices see the most microbes and influenza.

To see which areas were most contaminated in their office space, CBS tested four common office spots. Here are the four most germ-ridden places they found.

1. Computer keyboards. CBS found using a disinfecting wipe reduced more than 91 percent of bacteria and viruses on a computer keyboard.

2. The break room. Germs can easily grow in moist areas as workers prepare food and wash dishes in the break room, Dr. Mason said.

3. The stair railing. Although a number of hands run across stair railings throughout the day, viruses and bacteria cannot live long on railings made of steel, Dr. Mason said.

4. The conference room. Fabric-covered chairs and couches are "basically like a big sponge" for picking up microbes, Dr. Mason said. "Cells and viruses and other sort of entities can build up in the small porous areas."

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