Danish researchers checking aircraft toilets for bacteria

Results showed people travelling from south Asia carried the most bacteria

By examining stools taken from toilets on planes, Danish researchers from the DTU National Food Institute aim to learn how to stop resistant bacteria from spreading across borders.

The scientists examined the content of 18 toilets on planes arriving at Copenhagen Airport from nine destinations in Northern and Southern Asia and North America.

Most bacteria came from South Asia
The preliminary results clearly showed the regions that travellers bring the most bacteria from.

“It was crystal clear, perhaps too clear, that passengers visiting Southern Asia had been infected by many resistant bacteria and brought them home with them,” Frank Moller Aarestrup, a professor at DTU, told DR.

Getting a better overview
The Danish researchers believe they can use the insights from their experiment as a stepping stone to finding a cure for all infectious diseases worldwide.

“We can use our knowledge to learn what diseases are in the different countries because, as of today, many countries don’t have a proper overview,” Aarestrup commented.

“We can also use it to see which infections are being carried around and spread from one country to another.”