From the "well, duh!" file comes the New York Times story that the New York's subway system "is filled with hundreds of species of bacteria (mostly harmless), the occasional spot of bubonic plague, and a universe of enigmas. Almost half of the DNA found on the system’s surfaces did not match any known organism and just 0.2 percent matched the human genome."
A bunch of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College scraped stuff off poles and other NYC subway surfaces and submitted them to 17 months of study. They published a 16-page article of their findings, and created a very cool PathoMap to show what bacteria, etc., could be found where.
So what does this mean for the CTA? To me it means we all better leave our gloves on in the winter and stock up on latex gloves for the other seasons. One has to figure what they found in New York can't be much different from what researchers would find here.
Here's what I do know: The CTA does take cleanliness serious. The CTA in July 2012 adopted a new, much stricter standard for bus cleanliness that included changing the bus cleaning process from a 2 1/2-hour interior detail to a 4-hour general clean.
Also, cleanliness is one of many metrics it tracks on monthly metrics reports. The latest CTA report from November 2014 shows that the average interior rail clean inspection score was 93.7 percent. The average interior rail clean inspection score was 86.6 percent. Both of these scores met or exceeded the target scores.
But that doesn't mean there aren't some funky bacteria on that rail strap or bus pole.
Glove up, Bucky!
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