The spread of viral epidemics could be significantly reduced if airports had better hand hygiene.
According to a new investigation, the results of which were published recently in the scientific journal Risk Analysis, washing your hands well may be the secret to help stop this type of outbreak, such as Covid-19, the new coronavirus from China that has killed more than 1,000 people since the end of the last year.
Scientists have now discovered that if there were better hand washing at just ten of the world's most important international airports, the rate of spread of a particular contagious disease would drop significantly, from 45% to 37% – a difference of eight percentage points.
Estimates carried out by the team show that the better and more extensive hand cleaning at airports around the world, the lower the spread rate.
"Our results suggest that if we could increase the level of hand cleaning at all airports in the world from 20% to 30%, a potential infectious disease would have a 24% less impact," wrote the authors.
And they point to another scenario: "Raising the level of hand cleaning to 60% at all airports in the world would imply a 69% reduction in the impact of a possible spread of contagious diseases", they added, quoted by the portal Science Alert.
"The involvement of the population with adequate hand hygiene can be a simple and effective solution to prevent the transmission of infections and reduce the risk of global pandemics", the authors also consider.
Another investigation, published in mid-2018 in the BMC Infectious Diseases, found that airports can be authentic nurseries for germs.
Scientists have pointed to plastic trays, which are used daily by thousands of passengers in airport security zones, as the dirtiest surfaces and potentially dangerous to health.
The study authors left recommendations for passengers airport employees, calling for special care with hand hygiene, as well as care to prevent the spread of viruses when sneezing or coughing.