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Study reminder: touchscreen devices spread sickness

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Fri October 15, 2010

Study says touchscreens help spread illness

A recently published study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology came back to light today in an interview late Thursday discussing the risks of getting sick from touchscreen devices. Stanford University PhD student Tim Julian noted that about 30 percent of the bacteria, viruses and other organisms on a surface are picked up on contact, making the iPad, iPhone and Android devices more likely to spread illnesses. He explained to the Sacramento Bee that the issue mostly becomes acute when owners share their devices, which can be more common with touch displays.

Such situations can be particular problems in Apple stores and phone stores, where an abundance of touchscreen devices exist that have been repeatedly touched by others.

Julian and others recommended that the simplest solutions would be to avoid sharing a device unless needed and to wash hands frequently to clear away any bacteria. He hasn't quantified the risk in everyday use versus non-touch devices or for being more cautious, but he also didn't raise any extra concerns even about his own use of a Motorola Droid.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007


    ***News Flash***

    The same thing happens with keyboards and mice.

  1. kdogg73

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Dec 2002




  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001


    The Debbie Downers of the World

    It must really suck to live your life afraid of everything. I wonder if guys like this get off reminding everybody to afraid of everything. On the other hand the ambulance chasers are probably discussing the possibility of a class action lawsuit as we post. "Apple's device made my client sick just by touching it! We want millions!"

  1. Roehlstation

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001



    shopping carts.....

    does this study prove that MORE bacteria is being spread or that it offsets the spreading from other things like pens, keyboards and mice

  1. trenchcoat77

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2003




  1. peter02l

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2009


    that's good news

    because after 10 people touch it, less than 1% of the bacteria, viruses, etc. remain.

  1. gor3don

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005



    isn't this PhD student stating the obvious?

  1. mytdave

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000


    less sick

    I call BS. Seems to me that touch-screens would carry less germs than traditional keyboards - where bacteria laden c*** falls down in key wells and stays there, whereas people tend to clean their touch-screens occasionally (I clean the screen of my iPhone daily - not because of germs, but all the smudges start to annoy me after a while).

  1. MacSpeaker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2010


    Germs to practice on

    I'm gonna quote George Carlin on this one. May he rest in peace.

    "What we have now, is a completely neuratic population obsessed with security and safety and crime and drugs and cleanliness and hygene and germs.

    There's another thing: Germs. Where did this sudden fear of germs come from, in this country? Have you noticed this? The media constantly running stories about all the latest infections: equali, bird flu, ... and Americans panic easily, so now everybody is running around, scrubbing this and spraying that, and over-cooking their food and repeatedly washing their hands, trying to avoid all contact with germs. It's ridiculous, and it goes to ridiculous lengths.

    In prisons, before they give you a lethal injection, they swab your arm with alcohol. It's true. It's true. Well they dont want you to get an infection!

    'Besides, what do you think you have an immune system for? It's for killing germs!
    But it needs practice, it needs germs to practice on. So listen, if you kill all the germs around you and live a completely sterile life, then when germs do come along, you're not gonna be prepared. And never mind ordinary germs, what are you gonna do when a super virus comes along and turns your vital organs into liquid s***? I'll tell you what you're gonna do, you're gonna get sick, you're gonna die, and you're gonna deserve it because you're ###### weak'

    ~George Carlin

  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2002


    There's worse things you could touch...

    like Ke$ha. I'm sure you'd get cooties from even being close to that s****.

    What's with these people who write this drivel? Do they also sit down to pee?

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