Public transport riders wide open to infection by parasites and viruses

Just when we thought we were finally starting to figure out how to make a major shift to  public transport, this troubling article shows up in the main paper in Tallinn Estonia, at the time of their introduction of a new program to create FFPT  Fare Free Public Transport.  Now someone has to figure out how to offer Germ Free Public Transport. GFPT. Quite seriously. Where do we start to work out way through this one?  Have a look and tell us what you think about it.

estonia.tallinn-bus(Rough Google translation of the local newspaper article of 24 January follows. Source: We leave it to you to navigate the bumps in the road.)

Tallinn’s public transport largely unsatisfactory hygiene, setting the stage for pathogens to spread.

At the bus stop waiting with people to catch passing Black Hill bus. Stands out among other bony, buried in tatters eakam woman who fit out the trash waiting sorimisega – also bare hand. Next, grab the same garbage on the bus shut armrests sobranud fingers. Now Sets the urine, and body juices from the offensive smell of soaked eluheidik yourself to sit down and getting her trash bags full of the passenger seat. When he leaves the bus, sitting in his place by a young woman with an infant. Piggy Malda not sit still. He’s looking for a niheledes action and grabs the hands of the same arm rests, a little while ago clung onto asotsiaal. Mom did not realize it, but once your child pushes against the arm of a small mouth and suck it briefly.

Who has been in ühissõidukeis present, there is inevitably exposed to the otherwise exemplary citizens of the city who are not sick in bed mallanud tõbistena stay. Taught in kindergarten, sneezing and coughing that comes hand in hand to mouth, but it is wrong. Coughing and sneezing should totally be handkerchief or sleeve. Slobbery hands are busy, after all, armrests, but the small tiny droplets spread through sneezing near advocates.

Quite a nightmare

Calls to mind nightmarish decent health professional epidemioloogianõunik Kuulo Kutsar conjures up when he lists the names of these diseases, which unsuspecting passengers can ride free to bring home an added bonus. “Particularly public transport, the spread / normal droplet infection and intestinal pathogenic agents; rarer / rarest – skin pathogens (such as scabies), fungal skin diseases, pathogens and parasites, such as lice, bedbugs, fleas,” called Kutsar. He adds that parasites and disease-causing fungi, spores and threads are spread mainly through the seat covers.

Piisknakkusteks is easily transmitted influenza and other viral diseases of the upper respiratory tract (parainfluenza, adenoviirusnakkus, RS-virus infection, rinoviirusnakkus, human metapneumoviirusnakkus) kopsuklamüüdiad and mycoplasmas. “It is not impossible that a public transport vehicle, the passenger may get infected with tuberculosis, because in this disease is prevalent,” warns Kutsar. Also, you should not forget that the usual spread by droplet infection agents in the air space or joint 1-1.5 m away. In addition, the sick person to pollute / public transportation lubricated surfaces (handles, etc) in their sputum or nasal discharge of triggers.

As the above were not enough, the public transport users consider that most of the hygiene levels in public transport facilities are not satisfactory, ie low purity level creates the conditions for the spread of pathogens. Coachman said the low level of the subjectively perceived purity: hoidepinnad sticky, dirty, seat covers, floor covered with a layer of dust in the dry season and so on.

If piisknakkusest manages to get to, then Urogenital infections have been prepared to attack. “Readily transmitted communicable diseases, diarrheal diseases are diarrheal run, for example, in common noroviirusnakkus, Rotavirus infection, coliform bacteria infection, kampülobakternakkus, salmonellosis,” citing Kutsar. Agents of food poisoning are also handed handrails, benches, or back to, what race and public transport touches.

If the patient is not suffering from diarrhea after visits to the toilet and wash hands thoroughly, then such public means of traveling to the doctor, he is likely to contaminate your hands are in contact with surfaces. Mostly sick people are using public transportation (often they are also forced to because of the family physician as influenza patient home visits do not) who do not care or do not know the patient and the appropriate safety measures’re coughing, sneezing, a runny nose without protection.

As public transport is the infectious agent to spread conditions, therefore, that the city buses, trolleybuses, trams, a large amount of people, the occupants of infection is high. This is exacerbated by the fact that the people in the public transport and very close to each other long enough to get infected. So it seems that the bus or trolley rider stepping writes down his willingness to become sick. Therefore, at should be allowed to vaccinate themselves.

PS. Create a press time of the city transportation agency has comments on how and whether the city intends to improve hygiene in public transport vehicles.

How to protect yourself against a public transport vehicle-borne infections?

  • Use public transport fall-winter period to minimize the spread of infectious diseases, if possible, take advantage of public transport vehicles for babies and small children.
  • Shared-Vehicle administrators must ensure the purity inherent in the cultural world of vehicles.
  • If at all possible, do not use / contact with contaminated surfaces of the vehicle (although it is a necessary aspect of driving safety).
  • Do not sit down, dirty seats.
  • Upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, and suspected of being sick can infect other passengers in public transport vehicles.
  • Antisocial joint lead-vehicle parasites, which are spread through the seat and the side walls.
  • After returning home, use public transportation Be the first operational hand washing your clothes or beat a re-count if the person next to you have been dirty, dirty seat sat strangely touched with bare hands or surfaces.

Source: Kuulo Kutsar

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3 thoughts on “Public transport riders wide open to infection by parasites and viruses

  1. It is not clear from the article if this is based on a study or mere conjecture. Eating in a restaurant is probably even riskier, since then you’re actually imbibing. That said, our immune systems thrive on challenges and fail under overly sterile conditions. Moreover, our own bodies function largely on the basis of (friendly) bacteria, so trying to be germ-free, by using toxic chemicals, for example, tends to be counter-productive.

    Washing hands thoroughly before eating or handling food remains an optimum measure for most of these issues. We should all do that anyway, no matter how we get around or where we go.

    This sounds a bit like the studies that look only at cyclists and air pollution, rather than comparing across modes and health issues. Transport riders tend to be somewhat more fit than car drivers (there aren’t many studies, but I remember seeing a couple somewhere along the way), so looking at buses alone as dirty and dangerous seems to decontextualize. What about park benches, public playgrounds, street food and restaurants?

    The human body did not evolve to live in a sterile bubble!


    MSc., PhD urban planning and community development
    Post-doctoral fellow Transport Engineering and Logistics department, Catholic University of Chile
    Urban advisor, Ciudad Viva (Living City)

  2. Comment from Mari Jüssi, Tallinn

    Google translate partly even conveys the opposite meaning — for example in the last paragraph Kuulo Kutsar (advisor at the National Health Board) advises readers: Use public transport as little as possible during autumn and winter season, if possible do not take babies or toddlers with you”.

    I would not have been surprised to read this from an evening newspaper written by a car-minded journalist — but this article is from a national daily newspaper that otherwise gives balanced news and comments. According to the editor of this article Signe Kalberg, all the statements in the article are based on the interview with Mr Kutsar. Until now I have not received an answer from Kutsar where is he taking his statements about the health condition of PT users, why Tallinn PT is especially highlighted or any other evidence which would give him ground to recommend not using PT to stay healthy.

    During winter time I am a regular user of PT in Tallinn and stories of travelling with stinking homeless people are exaggerated and normally come from people who do not use PT themselves. Of course the buses-trams could be a lot cleaner and less crowded but by improving the service not scaring them away with made up stories

  3. Mari
    I fully agree with your comments…

    Concerning so called health risks on PT…we had some similar concerns about the flu virus on London underground a few years ago (in fact i think there is probably a permanent campaign for people travelling on public transport in London to sneeze and cough into a tissue rather than into the air around them), but it wasnt a scare mongering campaign, it was positive public info campaign…

    Concerning the health ‘risk’ from multi-bag carrying vagrants gettting on board public transport vehicles in Tallinn…I would guess that its the exception rather than the norm…and although there may well be many more of these ‘free riders’ in this freezing cold weather (in Vilnius too at the moment), its inevitable that they would take to the warmth of PT vehicles rather than wander the streets…

    It seems to be a purposely written negative publicity article…even down to the choice of PT vehcile interior shot used to illustrate the story, there are surely nicer interior shots that could havce been used to highlight PT travel?


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