Wed, 04 Jan 2012 06:03:04 GMT

Flushing the toilet with lid up ''can spread germs''

London, Jan 4 (PTI) The next time after you answer nature''s call, make sure to close the lavatory lid before you flush, for a new study says that watering the toilet with its lid up can spread germs like the winter vomiting bug.

A team at Leeds University says leaving the lid up can allow a cloud of bacteria to explode into the air, settling on nearby surfaces. This also increases the risk of viruses like the winter vomiting bug of transmitting to another person.

"It is very clear from our work that the lid is there for a reason," Prof Mark Wilcox, who led the team, was quoted by the ''Daily Mail'' as saying.

For the study, researchers conducted an experiment to see how using a toilet lid could affect the spread of disease, specifically in hospitals.

They used a sterilised toilet cubicle and created a ''diarrhoea effect'' in the bowl using stool samples that had been infected with the hospital superbug C. difficile. They found C diff was transported up to 10 inches above the toilet seat when it was open and a reduced rate was still detected in the air up to 90 minutes later.

When the lid was closed, no C. difficile was recovered on any surface, but when it was open it was found on the cistern, to the right and left of the toilet seat and on the floor.

Professor Wilcox said: "We then put vegetable colour dye in the water bowl, lifted the lid and put cling film over the toilet seat. After we flushed the toilet we found it sprayed a large amount. By placing the film onto filter paper we found that the toilet could spray up to 50 droplets per flush."
He added that their research also had wider implications, saying, "It would be prudent if there is a lid to put it down after flushing. This contains smells and droplets that can become aerolised. Some bugs spread more easily to surfaces this way and the norovirus is thought to be one of them.

"Our advice -- put down the lid if it''s there and wash your hands afterwards." PTI MOT

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