It's always a good idea to disinfect things that you regularly use, as Medical News Today reports that they may be housing bacteria that have survived outside the human body for longer than most think.

Researchers tested several objects and surfaces such as books, toys, tables, and chairs that have been recently wiped or dusted and found that bacteria like streptococcus pneumoniae and streptococcus pyogenes managed to survive even after cleaning.

S. pneumoniae brings about strep throat and other skin conditions in kids and in adults, while S. pyogenes has been linked to respiratory tract infections and mortality in both children and older adults.

The high survival rates of these bacteria can be attributed to their ability to create biofilms, a “group of microorganisms that bind together on a surface,” which cause disease-carrying microbes to live outside the human body for long periods of time.

“Commonly handled objects that are contaminated with these biofilm bacteria could act as reservoirs of bacteria for hours, weeks, or months, spreading potential infections to individuals who come in contact with them,” warns senior study author Anders Hakansson.

Researchers recommend cleaning objects thoroughly before and after use of children or older adults. Regularly washing hands before meals may also reduce the risk of contamination.

(Photo by Judy via Flickr Creative Commons)

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