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1 June 2012
Men lose in office hygiene stakes
by George Atkinson

Men's offices have significantly more bacteria than women's and chairs and phones show the highest abundance of these germs, says Scott Kelley of the University of California, San Diego. Kelley conducted a study of office bacterial communities in Tucson, New York and San Francisco and published his findings in the journal PLoS ONE.

"Humans are spending an increasing amount of time indoors, yet we know little about the diversity of bacteria and viruses where we live, work and play," said Kelley. "This study provides detailed baseline information about the rich bacterial communities in typical office settings and insight into the sources of these organisms."

The report investigated bacterial types and abundance and identified more than 500 bacterial genera in offices in the three cities, the most abundant of which tended to come from human skin or the nasal, oral, or intestinal cavities.

Chairs and phones had a high abundance of bacteria, while the abundance on the desktop, keyboard, and mouse was somewhat lower. Kelley also found that offices inhabited by men had a higher bacterial abundance than women's, but the diversity of the communities didn't show any significant differences.

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Source: Public Library of Science

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