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Input Devices Hardware

Keyboards are Havens for Super Bugs 591

Techguy666 writes "Gee, this is a suprise. Researchers have found that keyboards harbor bacteria and super-germs. This is particularly interesting this time because this research noted that there is a lot of computer use in hospitals and they're finding it really difficult to sterilize them."
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Keyboards are Havens for Super Bugs

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  • The clever golgafrinchans who stayed behind were wiped out by a disease caught from an unsanitary telephone. Does this study suggest we're on a similar path (unless we begin training keyboard sanitizers) or is it possible they are helping keep out immune systems regularly tested by the evils which lurk beneath the h, j, k and l keys.
  • Easy one: Wash it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MPHellwig ( 847067 ) * <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:47PM (#12203510) Homepage
    Perhaps using a keyboard you can clean the "normal" way would help: lastcatid=119&step=4 []

    Now don't say that they couldn't have thought of it too (I mean that, don't say it).
    • You can clean a normal keyboard the "normal" way as well. Just make sure it's good and dry before you plug it in again.*

      *Poster is not responsible for loss of computer equipment, life, etc.
    • by ites ( 600337 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:54PM (#12203641) Journal
      Project this onto an untreated wooden surface, you have zero bugs and nothing to clean:

    • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:29PM (#12204111)
      Don't use any soap or detergent and make sure it's *completely* dry before plugging it back in.

      Tie the cord up so that it doesn't get caught in any moving parts.
  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:47PM (#12203514)
    I'm far too scared to type.
  • by John Meacham ( 1112 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:48PM (#12203521) Homepage

    I have one, you can clean the entire surface with windex or lysol. It uses E-field sensing so does not have the drawbacks of membrane keyboards and in fact has many advantages over regular keyboards.
    • by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:51PM (#12203601) Journal
      I, like many others, do touch typing... so I need tactile feedback.
      • This is a common misconception, that there is no tactile feedback, probably caused by people used to membrane keyboards where pressure is needed to cause a key to register and you have no feedback on when you have applied the right amount of presure.

        This is not the case with the touchstream, since it used e-field sensing, pressure does not matter, it can even detect your hands when they arn't even touching the surface of the keyboard. The tactile feedback is your fingertip touching the surface of the keybo
    • Yeah Fingerworks. I touch type too, and I go pretty fast in the TouchStream (but heck, I have it for 2 years now). Not only that, but I no longer have to move my hand to mouse and back..
      Oh, and the cursor key gestures. JUST for the cursor key gestures, I'd sacrifice *anything*. Hmm ok that and the programmer's keypad (drop 4 fingers of the left hand, and the right surface keys become "handy" things you'd have to reach and/or shift for, like != , {}_,-> etc)
      Ok it IS expensive, but looking at it, it's an i
  • Grant $$$ (Score:5, Funny)

    by yotto ( 590067 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:48PM (#12203522) Homepage
    ...research noted that there is a lot of computer use in hospitals...

    I wonder how much grant money they got for that one.
  • Plastic cover (Score:5, Informative)

    by kdark1701 ( 791894 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:48PM (#12203525) Homepage
    They could put a plastic cover over the keyboard, with molds for each of hte keys, and spray/wipe that plastic cover with bleach every now and then.
    • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:51PM (#12203585) Homepage
      "with molds for each of hte keys"

      Bu then again, this could lead to typos...
    • Re:Plastic cover (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hoplite3 ( 671379 )
      The real problem is that true "super bugs" aren't bothered by bleach. They've found strains that can be CULTURED IN CLOROX BLEACH right from the bottle. This is what happens when organisms with short generation times encounter environmental difficulties. See "The Coming Plague" by Laurie Garrett for more interesting stories in this vein.

      Regardless, you could just replace the plastic :)

      That won't happen, however. Some medical device company will manufacture a keyboard from special plastics without spac
    • by The Tyro ( 247333 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:51PM (#12204416)
      The problem is the environment, not the items in it. Hospitals unfortunately house sick patients with multiply-drug-resistant infections. The antibiotics flow like a mighty river... only the toughest bugs survive (and survive they do!).

      There was a recent study (can't recall the journal it was in) where they cultured doctors' neckties... they were able to culture all sorts of nasty, drug-resistant organisms.

      I am a physician, and I never wear a tie to work (I won't work somewhere where they force ER docs to wear ties)... I only wear scrubs, and get a new set every day... the old ones get washed before they're worn again. I also wash my hands a hundred times a day, and even clean my stethosope with alcohol (admittedly, brief exposure to alcohol doesn't really sterilize anything... but I feel better doing it... how's that for being dogmatic?).

      Infection spread is a reality in the hospital. You try to prevent it, but it happens, and off of ANY surface, not just keyboards. Unfortunately, these bugs are out in the community as well... most of the MRSA I see walks right in the front door, often in young people who have never spent a day in the hospital.

      And if you're one of those folks who always insists on some antibiotics to "knock out this cold," then you're contributing to this problem.

      Don't get mad at me when I refuse to prescibe antibiotics for your viral illness. This is going to sound patronizing, but it's actually for your own good, and helps keep the drugs effective for when you really need them.
      • (admittedly, brief exposure to alcohol doesn't really sterilize anything... but I feel better doing it... how's that for being dogmatic?)

        I was under the impression that rubbing alcohol would dissolve the organic compounds microorganisms use to attach themselves to their environment. So although brief exposure wouldn't kill anything, a bit of scrubbing would physically remove the micro doodles.
      • Infection spread is a reality in the hospital. You try to prevent it, but it happens, and off of ANY surface, not just keyboards. Unfortunately, these bugs are out in the community as well... most of the MRSA I see walks right in the front door, often in young people who have never spent a day in the hospital.

        A little over a decade or so ago I worked for a year in an RAF hospital as a theatre/CSSD muppet (first job out of school and I loved it). Patients (some or all, I never knew but I think it was mai

  • What about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Frogmum ( 778954 )
    on screen keyboards?
  • I've been figured out! I guess I'll have to go with plan B... hiding my superbacteria in the folds of fat old IT drones.....
  • by BrakesForElves ( 806095 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:49PM (#12203535) Homepage
    By saying "keyboards harbor bacteria and super-germs" in the present tense, "harbor" means that keyboards right now contain super-germs. That is a crock, and a gross mis-characterization of what the study found. In the study, they _innoculated_ keyboards with "super germs", then found how long the germs could live. So the headline ought to read more like "bacteria and super-germs can survive on keyboards for 24 hours or more". Rob---
    • Furthermore, having worked for a hospital, IMHO it is most likely the hospital that harbors the "super germs". Keyboards are just another medium by which these "super germs" propagate.

      I seem to remember something in orientation about certain germs and bacteria only existing in a hospital... something to do with the environment being hostile to everything but the strongest bugs.
    • With an attitude like that, you'll never work in advertising.

      And you can forget about politics.
  • Nice work, Gary (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:49PM (#12203538)
    Quotes from the article:

    "The difficulty with keyboards is you can't pour bleach on them," Dr. Allison McGeer, an infection control specialist from Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, tells The Canadian Press. "They don't work so well when you do that.''

    "Keyboards will never be completely sterile," Noskin advises. "There are always going to be bugs there."

    This is the most ridiculous piece of non-news I've seen in a while. This so-called 'researcher', Dr. Gary Noskins, needs to research Google for some sealed keyboards.

    These keyboards have been in use for quite a while...durable, washable, and yes, they can be sterilized.
    Links here [] and here [] just for starters.

    Mabye I should mail Dr.Noskin my findings...mabye I can publish a study of my own.
    • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:59PM (#12203716)
      HA! Just watch me! I'll pour any damn liquid on there I want! There, doone! Anmd itttttttttttttttt sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssstuiuiuil ll wwwwrrks perrdfgdfgctttttttttttttttttttttttlllyy!@@@#@@@
    • Re:Nice work, Gary (Score:5, Informative)

      by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:32PM (#12204131)
      These keyboards have been in use for quite a while...durable, washable, and yes, they can be sterilized.

      I'm going to nitpick here, because I'm a homebrewer and thus I deal with sanitation on a regular basis.

      A sealed keyboard cannot be sterilized unless you autoclave it. It can be sanitized, which means removing something like 99.999% of microorganisms, but it is not sterile in the sense that there is no remaining life whatsoever. No chemical agent can kill 100% of microorganisms (maybe sulfuric or hydrochloric acid at nearly 100%, but only after a long exposure period, and it would eat away the material you were trying to sterilize). Only heat (and radiation) can truly sterilize.

      Now, if these keyboards you speak of can survive autoclaving temperatures, then by all means, go for it (if you have a large enough autoclave).

      Many people casually confuse sanitation and sterilization, but they aren't strictly the same thing.

  • It's well explained why a lot of bugs in software that are "unebuggable".
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203545) Journal
    Nice surface for bugs, grease and moisture hangs around for ages.

    Wood is what you need. Dries out the bugs in no time at all.

    I've seen wooden keyboards but they are horrendously expensive. Sigh.

    The motto is: don't share your keyboard, and when you go to a cybercafe, wash your hands afterwards, and don't pick your nose.

    • The motto is: don't share your keyboard, and when you go to a cybercafe, wash your hands afterwards, and don't pick your nose.

      nazh, pick your nose all you want. do NOT touch your eyes. you will get a cold or flu faster than anything if you use someone's keyboard and then touch your face near your eyes or even worse rub your eye.

      your nose has snot and other defenses, hell the snot is bugs that were trapped and are being carried out. your mouth has other defenses, but your eyes are the weakest point of
    • by Pafuna ( 875169 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:07PM (#12203835)
      I wasn't picking it, I was SCRATCHING it...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203548)
    I work in a research lab, and the way we clean keyboards is by using compressed air to blow out the dust and dirt, then spraying them with 70% ethanol to remove organics. After the ethanol, they airdry pretty quick, and at the very least, we *think* they're clean. :)
    • by PW2 ( 410411 )
      I hope you and all your co-workers use dust-masks when using compressed ait to clean the keyboards -- I hate when people here do that without warning since I hate breathing in years worth of people.
  • Maybe what we need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arodland ( 127775 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203555)
    Is a more lightweight, disposable version of those plastic keyboard covers. It would be a membrane thin and flexible enough that it wouldn't interfere with your typing, but which could be thrown out at the end of the day. It would also, conveniently, protect your keyboard from wayward food particles and corrosive finger oils.

    I can only assume that if making such a thing were easy it would have been done by now.
  • by helioquake ( 841463 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203564) Journal
    I don't know about you, but I'd get my daily dose of bacteria from my keyboard and keep my immune system up and ready to fight off.
    • This is actually what I believe. There's various studies out there that suggest that growing up in a more rural environment will tend to produce less allergenic and breathing problems in later life. The belief is that the constant exposure to dust, seeds, animal dander and hair, etc. that is more common in a rural setting will actually teach the body to not treat these (relatively) harmless materials as hazardous and trigger allergenic or asthmatic responses.

      The same could be said of bacteria and such. We're now beginning to realize that treating every infection or virus (say a cold) with antibiotics will in fact, over time, make the bug more resistant to the drugs. A lot of people belive this is why the so called flesh-eating disease is so resistant to anti-biotics. Its been exposed to them all before.

      Remember folks, our parents and grandparents didn't have $brandName anti-bacterial wipes to clean up after cutting raw chicken, and they didn't die from salmonella either. Simple precautions such as washing your hands with soap (don't spend extra on the anti-bacterial crap) regularaly. Don't rub your eyes or pick your nose after being in contact with questionable objects.

      Simple hygene can actually prevent a surprising number of infections.

      • You are correct about pathogens and immunity, however allergies are quite different than pathogens. The immune system fights pathogens, however the immune system is what causes allergies. They are an overreaction to foreign sustances entering the body.

        Growing up around allergens often causes allergies. The body, having been genetically predisposed to certain allergies will cause the immune system to attack allergens that it comes into contact with.

        Allergies are caused by the immune system, rather than

      • I agree with you about the causes of the current upswing in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is pretty clear that a lot of it comes from the misuse of antibiotics to 'treat' colds.

        A lot of the problems with salmonella come from a different source, though. Modern industrial food-handling processes provide a much better environment for spreading bacteria than traditional methods. Your grandparents cut up a raw chicken that they either killed themselves, or bought from somone who had killed it somewhere nea

      • Infant mortality and life expectancy were both much worse back then. People did in fact die more. And what's more, disease was poorly understood, so a lot of what killed people back then, they didn't even know what it was.
  • by puck01 ( 207782 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203567)
    Properly hand washing/cleaning alleviate this problem. The hospitals I work at are setup with hand cleaner all over the place so its nearly impossible to forget.
  • The internet definetly perpetuates my self-diagnosed OCD ... at least the hand sanitizer gel I keep next to my workstations have more of a basis for being there.
  • by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <`ten.elcychtneves' `ta' `kram'> on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:50PM (#12203575) Homepage
    I bet all that "protein" that lands on the keyboards of many of us slashdotters are helping those strains out, don't you think?
  • by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:51PM (#12203587)
    I've had real live bugs living in my keyboard before - I guess it's a warm and snug place for them to live. I was happily tapping away one day, when this cockroach-type thing crawled out from under the Z key. Luckily, they didn't attack any of the wiring, but it was scary nonetheless.
  • by Danimoth ( 852665 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:51PM (#12203595)
    Only type with one hand, half the germs, twice the fun.
  • Laser keyboard (Score:3, Interesting)

    by op12 ( 830015 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:52PM (#12203604) Homepage
    A solution like the laser keyboard [] could be ideal for the situation, though it will be a while before the cost comes down. Since it projects onto a surface, the table/counter could be cleaned easily.
  • Study... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Virtual Karma ( 862416 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:52PM (#12203606) Homepage
    Here is what one study has to say :

    According to the study, from researchers at the University of Arizona, phones have up to 25,127 germs per square inch, keyboards 3,295 per square inch and computer mice 1,676 per square inch.

    source here []

  • Uh huh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:52PM (#12203607)
    While I can understand a concern for this in hospitals where peoples immune systems are already comprimised, for the rest of this, this should be irrelevent.

    Living in a purely sterile enviroment weaks your immune system. Our bodies require a "tainted" enviroment. While we don't need to be "dirty" all the time, if make sure everything is always clean, don't be surprised when that flu lasts a month.
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:52PM (#12203614) Journal
    Take it apart and clean it every six months or so.

    Unscrew what can be unscrewed, and lever the keys off with a screwdriver. Clean the under-key area as well as everywhere else with some window cleaner (or whatever solvent you have around) and clean the keys one-by-one in warm, soapy water. Then let everything dry (a hair dryer set on a cool setting can speed things up with the main part of the keyboard) and put everything back together again.

    By the way, if you're unable to put together a keyboard layout from memory, I suggest taking a couple of quick pictures of your keyboard with a digital camera - at least that way you won't be left wondering which key goes where.
  • by scupper ( 687418 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:55PM (#12203655) Homepage
    The NIH's National Institute of The Obvious and Yet Overlooked released their findings today of a study that found living on the planet Earth can lead to death, and a variety of illnesses and disorders. The study recommends to avoid the risk of life, one shold look into the practices of "shut-ins" and has also set up a non-profit to help distribute the film "Boy in a Bubble".
  • by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:57PM (#12203675) Journal
    This [] is a must.

    These [] rock at the office, too.

    I swear it sounds like a TB ward here at least twice a year.

  • A solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:58PM (#12203695) Journal
    Man I should be a high priced consultant.

    Here is a what a quick Froogle search came up with.

    Keyboard Condom []
  • Damn (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tebriel ( 192168 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:00PM (#12203729)
    My computer has bugs, my keyboard has bugs...what's next, a monitor bug?
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:02PM (#12203758) Homepage
    we did it all the time in the microbiology lab.

    we had "water resistant" keyboards so simply slipping one in a large ziplock and then ploping it in the autoclave would do the trick in 60 minutes.

    Some brands did not survive the 250 degrees temperature peak and hold, but others did, and the slow pressure increase with the sudden pressure drop kills ANY bug. I dont care how "super" the pathogen is, an autoclave will kill it.

    funny part is that keyboards do not last past 5 runs in the device. something about all that heat does bad things to the plastic. but Cherry keyboards were able to survive at least 3 runs.

    and yes, we tested it. No bugs after wiping with a sterile swab and trying to incubate it for 48 hours.

    • by vivin ( 671928 )
      dont care how "super" the pathogen is, an autoclave will kill it.

      I know I'm being pedantic, but autoclaves don't kill everything... they don't "kill" prions. Then again, prions aren't actually bugs. However, I don't think prions hide out in your keyboard... unless you've been eating people's brains raw and the didn't wash your hands before using your keyboard.
  • Warts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:13PM (#12203906)
    At my first job there seemed to be an unusually large number of people with warts (and lots of them) on their hands. At least five people in a company of less than 25. Surprise surprise: I started getting warts on my hands within 18 months. Warts are of course caused by a virus.

    I ended up with about 30 of them. It took more than a year of nasty chemicals and liquid N2 treatment by a dermitologist before my immune system finally kicked and the warts went away. He seemed to think that they were particularly virulent and hardy. I strongly suspect I was infected from keyboards. They have to be the dirtiest nastiest things in an office. I'm glad I work from home these days and only sit down at other people's computers via RDP/VNC/pcAnywhere/WebEx.

  • Dishwasher Safe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:15PM (#12203944) Homepage Journal
    Well younguns, sit down there by the fire, as I have a story to tell you.

    Years ago, keyboards were big, heavy, and and made with buckling springs []. I'm, in fact, typing on one right now and you may be able to find one of your own, but there pretty damn rare now.

    Anyway, in the old days when some unfortuate lad poured coffee (or beer) into their keyboard you could just throw the entire keyboard into the bath with some mild detergent, swish it around, and hang it on the line to dry for a few days. You could use a hair dryer if you were in a hurry.

    Well, let me tell you. We once had a whole batch of "dead" BS keyboards that we had been collecting over time (being busy and not having time to properly bath them as they came into the service area). One day the service manager was scratching his big bald head, wondering if he should just throw them all out when he was struck by an idea.

    Yep, he put them all into one of the company's dishwashers. Added a little dishwasher detergent and put it on the normal cycle.

    Well, those keyboards came out just like they was brand spankin new. And they worked just fine (after they had dried off, that is).

    Perhaps those hospitals could try that. Personally, I wouldn't unless they are still using old BS keyboards as I doubt that these modern high-tech flimsy things would stand up to the ordeal.
  • by potus98 ( 741836 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:18PM (#12203982) Journal

    The local pizza joint uses some kind of flat translucent rubber keyboard with no moving parts. It can survive flour, water, or tomato sauce with a quick wipe-off. Although it's an elegent and cheap solution, I'm sure the health care industry will fork over millions of dollars to develop some method of enclosing the ancient PC-XT-AT-whatever connected keyboards they use now to the ancienter host running vaccum tubes under the desk.

    Perhaps they could submerge a rubber keyboard in a shallow tray of anit-bacterial hand gel. Your finger tips would rest in 1/4" of gel while you typed. When you were done typing, you could just rub your hands togeather and the gel would evaportate. 'Course, whatever survives that environment would be a mega-super-duper-bug! And then what would we do, submerge our fingers in a shallow tray of weak acid?

  • by MojoRilla ( 591502 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:19PM (#12203991)
    This is in no way limited to keyboards.

    In the early 90'ies, I worked for a computing department for a university that ran a help desk. They noticed that employees were getting sick all the time. They changed policies, and made everyone who worked the help desk bring their own phone handset, and the illnesses decreased.

    The moral of the story is that germs can infect anything we touch, and so don't share things many people need to use. Or buy appropriate hardware / cleaning systems to handle it.
  • by EPDowd ( 770230 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:23PM (#12204051) Homepage
    About 25 years ago I was the Sysadmn + Chief Cook and Bottle washer for a system in a Pathology Lab. It took real time data from all of the medical equipment that the lab used to test your blood. The lab in a hospital is where the sickest parts of the sickest people are brought to. The Doctor who ran the lab forced my company to by a second set of tools and software that never left the lab. I washed the hell out of my hands everytime I left that place. The rule we used was, once it went into the lab, it never came out except as medical waste to be burned or what ever they did with that stuff.
  • by rtphokie ( 518490 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:30PM (#12204120)
    having an asthmatic child, I've had the misfortune of spending a few hours in an ER and a night on the Peds' floor.

    Yes the computers are everywhere but many are very different that what we'd expect. In the ER, patient histories as well as subsequent log entries are taken on a flat panel monitor mounted on a cart that is wheeled right up to the patient's bedsite in each room and curtain. These PCs had on keyboards. They were touch screen. A keyboard pops up for major typing but much of the interface is just answering questions in context. The nurses frequently wipe down the whole monitor and all the flat surfaces of the cart with what look like screen wipes (but probably are a bit more potent).

  • by NerveGas ( 168686 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:32PM (#12204132)

    Why can't they dip the keyboards in alcohol, let them dry, and plug them back in?

    My experience with cleaning "dirty" keyboards started waaaay back in the day when I spilled a Big Gulp of Coca-Cola into my Commodore-64, the screen instantly went black, and I had one hour until my mother got home. The Commodore got disassembled, washed, cleaned, dried, and reassembled before she got home - there's nothing like adrenaline to make you work quickly!

  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by cyngus ( 753668 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:36PM (#12204175)
    A simple solution would be to have non-mechanical keyboards. There are keyboards out there that have pressure sensors like a track pad rather than keys that depress. Since these have a flat surface and no crevices to worry about, sterilization should be simple. Many users complain of trouble using them at first, particularly slower typing speeds. Once you get used to the new feel though, you should have a higher theoretical maximum typing speed.
  • Scroll Lock (Score:3, Funny)

    by vurg ( 639307 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:40PM (#12204239)
    These superbugs are hiding under the scroll lock key. These bugs are smart and they know where to party. Although some are not smart enough that in some notebooks, the Insert key and the Scroll lock is the same. They also call Space bar the hell hole.
  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:38PM (#12205020) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't someone make keyboards from antibacterial plastic? They're already using it for a lot of other things in hospitals, and it's even being used for children's toys now. When it was first introduced, the claim was made that bacteria would not develop resistance to it, though I'm a bit skeptical as historically it has seemed that bacteria can adapt to almost any conditions.

    Anyhow, if they sold keyboards made of that, I suspect that a lot of people would want them, not just hospitals.

  • by slappyjack ( 196918 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:54PM (#12205203) Homepage Journal
    Both VRE and MRSA survived on a keyboard 24 hours after contamination, according to the study.

    VRE can cause urinary tract infections and infections at the entry sites of intravenous or dialysis lines.


    Related tale:
    I had my first sysadmin gig working for a web company tending the servers running for live, online cam girls. Yes, the little sweeties that lay there on a bed and do a little self touching and you can talk with them in a chat room.

    They had a few with audio, but this was 1998, and the shit was buggy - if not buggy, lets say jittery.

    Anyway, you'd have to run in and fix a flamingly crashing Windows server or two that was on a rack in the room with the girl (of course, you just had to reboot the goddamn thing) and, in the interest of haste, use the keyboard she was just typing on after she had her fingers in her crotch.

    We just kept TITANICALLY LARGE vats of tat disenfectant hand gel at every station, followed by a thorough hand scrubbing.

    Man, that was a good gig. I mean, really.

    UNRELEATED:I found a really cool pub in London where I can get wireless access. Unfortunately they insist on playing a lot of Alannis Morissette. LIVE Alannis Morissette.

    the shit I do to stay connected. fuckin' BT.

    Holy Shit, the music just changed to AC/DCs
    Shoot to Thrill maybe this place ain't so bad after all.
  • Of course (Score:3, Funny)

    by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:59PM (#12205278) Homepage
    Keyboards are Havens for Super Bugs
    Of course. I guarantee that every bug I've ever written came into being because of my keyboard. Take away my keyboard and I'd stop producing bugs.

  • by Arimus ( 198136 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:36PM (#12205655)
    Most military systems have keyboards that can be decontaminated (ie rubber keys and environmentally sealed) - okay they're not the greatest to type on for hours at a time but they do the job...

    Why not use those style keyboards so they can be cleaned easily?
  • by SamMichaels ( 213605 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:11PM (#12206018)
    Did we suddenly stop manufacturing those soft, clear rubber keyboard covers?

    "The difficulty with keyboards is you can't pour bleach on them," Dr. Allison McGeer, an infection control specialist from Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, tells The Canadian Press. "They don't work so well when you do that.''

    The difficulty with corporate thinking is that you need to invent a Star Trek touch panel for $988.45 per keyboard instead of buying a $0.50 cover and just changing them daily or weekly. Bleach works fine on it.
  • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:42PM (#12206269)
    This product might provide a solution.....

    Fellowes Microban [] (Just click on "Accessories with Microban Protection" in Yellow towards the top left of the site).

    Apparently products which have been treated with a chemical called "Microban" actually resists viruses and bacteria from contaminating the surfaces. Its been applied to keyboards, mice and mouse pads. Its not a surface treatment, rather, its been embedded into all the plastic so its doesn't wear or scratch off. The rep has said they're very popular in hospitals .

    I would personally like to see Consumers Reports (or an independent scientific lab) actually try and report on the product. Until then, I'm still skeptical of how well it works.

    (And I would really emphasize that I'm skeptical. The tests mentionned by Fellowes on their site were bought and paid for by Fellowes.)

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI