A team made up of members from several universities has found that hotel rooms across American are infested with far more bacteria than had been previously thought and that bacteria exist on more varied surfaces. In addition, according to the report the team has submitted to the American Society for Microbiology prior to giving a presentation at this year’s General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, many of those bacteria were found on surfaces many hotel guests many not consider as possible sites. CBS News reports that the team found that not only were large amounts of bacteria found in bathrooms as expected, but on surfaces such as the television remote and lamp switches. TechiBuzz adds that the research team also found many examples of bacteria on cleaning supplies used by room service, indicating the likelihood that cleaning crews unknowingly transfer bacteria room to room.
Three schools took part in the study, The University of Houston, Perdue, and the University of South Carolina, with each testing hotels rooms in their part of the country. Each test consisted of taking surface samples from many sites throughout each room, and from service carts used by cleaning personnel (with their permission). The names of the hotels were not released as part of the study, as the intent was to learn as much as possible about general hotel room conditions, not to identify those that failed to live up to standards.
In their report, the team notes that the specific kinds of bacteria found were too numerous to count, though they did say that they specifically tested for the kind of bacteria found in fecal samples, and found them throughout every room tested by all of the research teams. They also found that the amount of bacteria on television remotes and lamp switches was as high as for samples taken in the bathrooms. Of more concern to the researchers was the high numbers of bacteria found on mop handles and sponges used by cleaning personal, suggesting that bacteria carried into a hotel by one guest could very easily make its way to virtually all of the other’s over the next several days, creating the potential for a serious outbreak of disease should someone with a dangerous bacteria enter the premises.
In contrast, the team found that there were also surfaces with very low concentrations of bacteria such as headboards, curtain rods and bathroom door handles (because people leaving the bathroom have generally just washed their hands or showered).