How germy and mouldy is your office after coming back from WFH?


Whether it’s mould, bacteria or viruses, there are always going to be microbes around you. Humans, for one, are a source of these microorganisms, said Associate Professor Richard Sugrue from Nanyang Technological University’s Department of Biological Sciences. Also, “different microbes can attach to small dust particles in the air and settle on surfaces”, he said.

“There are many kinds of bacteria, viruses and fungi found on environmental surfaces commonly left behind from our skin as well as other bacteria and mould that exist naturally in the environment,” said Dr Louisa Sun, an infectious disease consultant with Alexandra Hospital.

Furthermore, at locations and surfaces that experience high footfall and touch, it is common to find “skin bacteria and others like enterococci (faecal bacteria that can cause infections of the urinary tract, blood and wounds etc), several common cold viruses and other viruses that cause diarrhoea and stomach flu”, said Dr Sun.

Of course, not all of your microscopic deskmates can potentially make you sick; some are just “part of our skin flora and are not harmful”, she added.

Does that mean you’ve brought back a workstation-full of microbes after a hiatus of months or even a year? Not so much for bacteria and viruses, said Assoc Prof Sugrue. “In general, viruses (in particular, enveloped viruses such as COVID-19) are not very stable for extended periods on most surfaces.”


See also  Endangered antelope rebounds in Kazakhstan, but threats loom

Leave a Reply