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The 10 most common bacteria found in the office

May 27, 2016 / britta

Some might think that the office is a sanitary environment because of how clean it looks. Most offices have cleaners that regularly keep the place tidy. On the surface it may look all shiny and clean but studies have shown that the humble office desk can harbour up to 500 different kinds of bacteria! While some of them are harmless, others can cause serious illness which could ultimately lead to staff sick days.

Here is a list of the most common bacteria found in offices:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa
This bacteria is commonly found in soil, water and man-made environments like the office. P. Aeruginosa is what biologists call an opportunistic bacteria, causing a range of illnesses for those who have their immune systems compromised or weakened. They are often associated with acute or chronic illnesses and are resistant to a range of drugs. Cockroaches are often carriers of this bacteria as it can be found in their exoskeleton and droppings.
This is the most common bacteria found in patients who have been hospitalised for more than one week.

Staphylococcus aureus
S. Aureus is a bacteria commonly found in the respiratory tract and skin. While it is not always harmful, it is a common cause of skin and respiratory tract infections. It can be found in the office especially where there is contact with the skin like on the keyboard or door handles.

Firmicutes
Firmicutes are a group of harmless bacteria that are found in the human digestive tract. While it is harmless in a healthy person, an imbalance of having too much of this bacteria can lead to some illnesses. Studies have shown that an imbalance in Firmicutes can also lead to obesity.

Actinomycetales
Actinomycetales is a group of bacteria commonly found in soil and fresh water. This bacteria is easily transferred from one surface to another. They can cause a list of illnesses which include pneumonia and infect those who have weak immune systems as they are opportunistic bacteria.

Escherichia coli
It is commonly known as E. coli and is usually found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. E. coli is expelled into the environment through faecal matter. Poor hygiene is often the culprit for its spread in the office and is found on surfaces like the keyboard or on the bathroom sink handle. This bacterium is often the cause of food poisoning.

Salmonella
Salmonella is a bacteria that is commonly associated with food poisoning and some strains cause typhoid fever. It can be found in the kitchen refrigerator and is spread by handling infected food. The good news is that Salmonella can be easily killed off by properly cooking or heating food.

Helicobacter pylori
H. pylori is a bacteria that is found in the human stomach. Around 50% of the world’s population is infected by this bacteria but it is often harmless. It is spread by poor hygiene and is found in most office surfaces. Strains of this bacteria cause acute gastritis and stomach ache.

Cyanobacterial toxins
Cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, produce toxins that can be harmful to people. The bacteria is commonly found in stagnant water and damp surfaces. Cyanotoxins can cause poisoning like the frequent shellfish poisoning that happens when shellfish ingest large quantities of cyanobacteria.

Clostridium difficile
C. difficile or C. diff is a type of bacteria found in the human digestive tract as well as in the soil. It is a hard bacteria and can tolerate environments where other bacteria cannot thrive. C. diff is often attributed as the cause of diarrhoea.

Norovirus
The Norovirus is not a bacteria but a virus that is commonly found in the office. It is transferred by food and water contaminated by faecal matter. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis and is also known as the Winter Vomiting Bug.

The office is filled with a myriad of different bacteria. Some are benign while others can cause serious harm. The office should have a regular cleaning schedule and also should have a deep cleaning session every so often. Sanitation should be the number one priority and training employees in proper hygiene should lessen the harmful pathogens spreading within the office. RPC Cleaners understand this and they offer highly professional and well-learned cleaning experts to help clean and maintain the office environment. Call them at 0208 994 4778 today!

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