Study: Dangerous bugs can have long lives on planes

By Charlotte Ames

Published 05/20 2014 03:34PM

Updated 05/20 2014 06:12PM

AUBURN, ALABAMA – A new study released by the Auburn University shows that potentially deadly bacteria can last up to a week inside a plane after the passenger has disembarked.

Delta Airlines provided Auburn researchers with actual armrests, toilet flush handles, tray tables, window shades, seats and seat pockets for the study; in which researchers inoculated them with bacteria and stored them in conditions meant to simulate a pressurized cabin: 75°F with 20% humidity.

The study found MRSA, a bug resistant to most antibiotics, can live on a seat pocket for up to a week.

The study showed a deadly type of E. Coli can survive on armrests for up to four days, on a plane’s tray table for up to three days and on toilet handles for two days.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Airliner Cabin Environment Research Center supported the study.

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