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Room Bacteria

May 1, 2012

Just by entering a room, you stir up millions of microorganisms.



You, yourself, and your bacteria… I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When you enter an empty room, you’re not alone. Your mere presence stirs up millions of bacteria and other microorganisms left behind by previous human occupants. Not only that, you emit millions more yourself.

JORDAN PECCIA (YaleUniversity):

Around 35, 37 million bacteria per person per hour and between 5 and 7 million fungi per person per hour.


That’s Yale environmental engineer Jordan Peccia. He and his colleagues sampled microbes in rooms when they were occupied and unoccupied.


Just by a person entering a room, the concentration of bacteria goes up between 10 to 100 times in the air.


Since most airborne diseases are transmitted indoors, he says it’s important to understand how our presence affects microbial counts in a room. Fortunately for us, though, only a tiny fraction of those microbes actually cause disease. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.