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Planes, Trains, and …Germs?

Travel Health Risks You Can -- and Can't - Avoid

Down in the Train, the Germs' Domain continued...

When Gershon turned her attention to infectious disease spread on subway systems, she found "not one scientific paper at all."

"You can imagine because of all the surfaces, all kinds of organisms can be transmitted from the hand rails, the head rests, the seats," she says. "It is almost inevitable disease transmission has happened, but it is hard to prove."

Meanwhile, Gershon is taking precautions.

"After riding the subway, I never put anything in my mouth without washing my hands," she says. "I don't touch a thing in my office without going to the sink. The rails and everything are loaded with pathogens. Hand washing is a simple thing, and it is the only thing you can do. I have seen a couple of people wearing face masks, but I wouldn't go that far. Clearly data are needed."

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Reviewed on October 01, 2006

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