SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Most air travelers have left a flight feeling like their coughing neighbor or a sneezing kid was bound to get them sick. Now there is research to support that fear.

New findings from Auburn University show just how germ-filled the cabins of passenger jets really are. Scientists exposed six common airplane surfaces to MRSA, E. coli and other bacteria. They found that potentially-deadly bacteria could survive for over a week.

MRSA lasted the longest on a seat-back pockets, while E.coli was most comfortable hanging out on the arm rest.

“I’m not surprised,” said traveler Anneke Hiatt. “I try not to focus on that stuff otherwise I wouldn’t go anywhere.”

Researchers found that the dry air in cabins helped the bacteria survive. Airlines say they are working on ways to minimize exposure.

Read more on the study here.


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