Traveling Mite find the Booty after all
Reported on popular websites like Flyertalk.com, is there a threat from the current x-ray inspection process? As we are all familiar with the procedure of removing our shoes for the x-ray machines, the industry is hoping a few stories remain isolated in their general knowledge. My intention is not to assist in the creation of panic; but, to help ensure our travelers are at least conscious in their actions- the following is what I found on my search.
The 2001 foot and mouth crisis in Great Britain was devastating not only to the British farming industry, but tourism as well. While the disease is not considered a threat to humans, humans can carry the virus on their shoes and transmit it to other animals. While tourism was unaffected in cities and small towns, many rural sites and hiking paths were closed for months. Imagine your practices upon arriving home after traveling abroad. If this horrible disease can be carried in this manor, what other germs would survive in the same way?
One person, known as “Red456” wrote the following post:
“My son is lying in a hospital bed on two intravenous antibiotics for a staph infection of unknown origin. I happened to be visiting him today when the hospital's infectious disease specialist stopped by to check on him. I took the opportunity to ask her if she had ever seen an infection acquired from an airport security checkpoint, specifically from travelers being forced to walk in their bare (or socked) feet. She told me that she has been suspicious of that means of acquisition with several of her patients after interviewing them, as she did my son, regarding their activities in the few days prior to their becoming ill. I didn't have the courage to ask if she'd ever reported her suspicions to the CDC.”
Whether this is true or not,
A responding doctor commented:
“The sad fact is that many people travel when they are ill, especially on mass transit like buses and airplanes, and in addition to the gastroenteritis illnesses, people can cough and sneeze and give you all kinds of fun upper respiratory stuff (to include tuberculosis, influenza and SARS). And now we have to wonder about community-acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph auresus - the super bug we used to just find in hospitals and long term care facilities) if people with open sores contaminate others through touch or by contaminating a common surface.
It can drive you nuts just thinking about all the possibilities, but taking reasonable precautions like good hand washing will help. Not much you can do about the respiratory illnesses, but I personally insist on clean gloves from the TSA folks if they're going to root through my bag because they may have handled little Johnny's dirty underwear two bags ahead of me.”
A local San Diego news reporter followed this with hard evidence in her report:
“Lower leg disease expert Dr. Daniel Lee said, ‘If there are individuals walking barefoot or with socks, they will transmit to another person walking over the same spot.’ What do socked or barefooted passengers leave behind? 10News used Petri dishes to gather samples where passengers picked up their carry-on luggage off of the conveyer belt at the security checkpoint. After sampling in San Diego, a 10News employee headed to Las Vegas and Phoenix -- two popular destinations for San Diegans. Investigative reporter Marti Emerald gave the samples to Quadrants Scientific in Rancho Bernardo.
This process is here to stay and we all must conform to its procedures- So my friends, in conclusion I ask that each of you utilize caution while participating in this mandatory process. What is next, sharing the booty?