Infectious Diseases: One Person, One Towel

For a year and a half respectable professors from the Düsseldorf Academy of Medicine sneaked around public washrooms on an odd mission: checking the hand towels in 136 inns and restaurants. They worked with stealth, lest owners get mad at the implied aspersion on their premises. Not until he was unobserved did a researcher pull out of his briefcase a letter-sized sheet of sterile, moistened collecting paper and press it against a towel. Then he folded the paper and slipped it back into his briefcase. Back at the laboratory, the sheets were checked for bacteria. Though the public hand towel...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!