Wednesday 17 May 2017

Travellers In London Tube Might Carry World’s Deadliest Superbugs

London Underground

Researchers from London Metropolitan University analysed buses and trains across the capital to test their cleanliness.

They found 121 different bacteria and moulds in total, with the Underground the dirtiest way of travelling around the city.

The Victoria line was the worst offender with 22 different types of bacteria found on board, including four of the world’s most threatening bugs.

Swabs uncovered Staphylococcus Aureus – a bacteria known to cause toxic shock syndrome in women who wear tampons for too long – as well as E.coli and the highly dangerous Klebsiella Pneumoniae.

The study, carried out in conjunction with taxi insurers Staveley Head, found the Circle and Piccadilly lines were the next dirtiest, both home to 20 bacteria.

The Metropolitan line was the least dirty, with 11, followed by the Bakerloo and Hammersmith and City on 13 and 14 respectively.

In total, nine bacteria from the World Health Organization’s list of drug-resistant bacteria that pose the biggest threat to human health were found on the Tube.

The scientists, who tested hand rails, seats and walls, found that London’s buses were a much cleaner option, with 37 bacteria recorded. The total on the Tube was 95.

Klebsiella Pneumoniae, found on a Victoria line train and inside a private hire taxi, is a superbug which killed a woman in the US last September.

The 70-year-old died after analysis found the bug was resistant to all 26 antibiotics available in the US.

Dr Matewele, who led the London transport study, said: “The Klebsiella Pneumoniae infection is a superbug that antibiotics cannot fight and can be extremely harmful.

“The bacteria doesn’t usually affect healthy people. It’s mainly a problem if transmitted between sick patients in hospitals and between people with weakened immune systems.

“The infection can cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia, septicaemia, meningitis and diarrhoea. Therefore, proper hygiene is a must.”

The professor explained that Staphylococcus was a common bacteria on all modes of transport in the capital. It can cause skin problems such as puss-filled boils as well as serious infections in the blood, lungs and heart.

Dr Matewele added: “Bacteria from rodents like rats and mice were also found upon tube lines, along with bacteria found in faeces and bacteria from sewage. These can cause water infections or skin infections like abscesses if you come into contact with them.”

Freedom of Information requests revealed earlier this year that the only Tube lines where seats are washed are the Bakerloo, Victoria and Central, whereas most are simply brushed.

However, it was also revealed that each carriage is cleaned every night.

Ashley Peters, Managing Director at Staveley Head, said it made “good business sense” for cab drivers to clean the inside and outside of their vehicles regularly.

He added: “We’d also obviously recommend that passengers riding the tube lines and buses practice good hygiene and regularly use hand sanitiser.”

Jill Collis, Director of Health, Safety and Environment for TfL, said: “The Tube is an extremely safe environment and our trains and stations are professionally cleaned throughout the day and night.

“There is no cause for customers to worry about bacteria on the Tube or do anything different in terms of hygiene than they would in other public places.”



Etiam at libero iaculis, mollis justo non, blandit augue. Vestibulum sit amet sodales est, a lacinia ex. Suspendisse vel enim sagittis, volutpat sem eget, condimentum sem.