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Brief encounters
  1. Helen Ward, Editors

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    The possibility of catching infections from toilet seats might be one of the oldest excuses in the book, and most of the evidence shows that this is highly unlikely, but this does not mean that toilets and other environmental surfaces cannot become contaminated. In a fascinating experiment reported by Meader and colleagues, Chlamydia trachomatis rRNA was detected in swabs taken from examination rooms and toilet areas, and further tests showed that this could persist for as long as 50 days. They were able to show transmission of detectable levels of CT rRNA from surface to surface and into a negative specimen that was handled with a wet contaminated hand. The point of the study is to show that new testing techniques are highly sensitive and can pick up tiny traces of the organism, with a possibility that environmental contamination could lead …

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