Food For Thought #12: And Now For Something Completely Different!


The Federal Parliamentary debacle on the Asylum Seeker issue and the obvious self-serving nature of our Liberal, Labor, Green and Independent politicians, has reached a stage where, being so angry with these dills, I had started typing in CAPITALS and was almost at the point of going into BOLD AND UNDERLINED.  I suspect that most people were feeling the same.  So it was time for something completely different and as far away from Australian Federal Politics as possible.  Or so I thought!

The American Society for Microbiology held their annual get together in mid-June and there was an interesting piece of research reported to this august body on the most contaminated surfaces in hotel roomsGosh!  So what?  Well, here’s why it’s ‘so what’ courtesy of the University of Houston.

The researchers found:

That TV remotes and bedside lamp switches were highly contaminated with aerobic and ‘coliform’ bacteria.  Ewwww!  These little beasties (the coliforms) are used as an ‘indicator’ of faecal contamination.  Strongly suggest that you don’t eat, or suck the remote, while watching TVAnd, leave the lights on!

Some of the highest levels of contamination were found in items from the housekeeper’s carts (eg. sponges and mops).  If these are so contaminated then the risk of cross-contamination of material in the rooms and between rooms could be quite high.  Oh! Nice! So whatever you wipe or mop gets a dose of greeblies from somewhere else (maybe the bathroom, or, someone else’s bathroom)?

As expected, there was plenty of contamination of the toilets and bathroom sinks.  Surprisingly, a low level of contamination was found on the bathroom door handle.  OK! Who leaves the door open when the go to the tut?

Other low contamination sites were the headboard of the bed and the curtain rods.  I guess that means that headboards and curtain rods are never cleaned.

The researchers couldn’t say whether the bacteria they detected could cause disease, but nevertheless, the contamination is a reliable indicator of overall cleanliness.  And I guess we can reliably say that that ain’t too hot!

While the study was a preliminary one it’s certainly concerning that there is so much contamination in hotel rooms.  In an industry with little standardisation of cleaning practices industry-wide, and with room cleanliness being primarily by way of visual inspection, overall sanitation levels of rooms is not evaluated in any meaningful way.

Contaminated surfaces are a potential mode of transmission of diseases, and coupled with poor standards for room disinfection and cleanliness may pose a very real risk for hotel guests.  Given that approximately 30 minutes (and quite possibly less) housekeeping is all that is spent on a room then there’s a real need to ensure that processes are in place to disinfect and minimise microbial contamination.  Perhaps we need a star rating which includes a microbial cleanliness factor?

So there it is.  That visit to the lovely hotel, for a relax, a comfy nights sleep, a bit of luxury might provide you with a bit more than your bargained for.  And that’s food for thought  . . . . . .!

PS:  Hmmm?  Micro-organisms?  Small, self-serving contaminants, hard to ignore, hard to get rid of, on the TV (remote) a lot, getting into everything, everywhere? Hey! Sounds like BL**DY POLITICIANS!  Let’s just not go there for at least six weeks!

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About deknarf

Australian born and bred who has spent most of his working life in R&D and IP management with earlier forays in the newspaper industry and martial arts. Fortunate enough to be living in one of the best countries in the World, even though I might get grumpy with it from time to time.
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2 Responses to Food For Thought #12: And Now For Something Completely Different!

  1. Victor says:

    Hmm, maybe they should swab parliament? The World Health Organisation would probably close the place down. (sorry, I know you were trying to get away from politics, but, if the disease fits…)

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    • deknarf says:

      Thanks Victor. Yeah! I know! Tried my best but started to drift back again and to CAPITALISE. Do you think is might be a polymixo virus infection? 😉

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