The Dirty Half Dozen: 6 Germs You Don’t Want On Your Desk

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COVID-19 has been devastating to people around the world. If you haven’t fallen sick yourself, you know someone who has. Beyond its health costs, the pandemic continues to have a social and economic impact.

It’s hard to imagine any good coming out of the situation, but if there is a benefit, it would be the raised awareness of the need for infectious disease prevention. 

Few people now are unaware of how to protect themselves against COVID-19 transmission. But COVID-19 isn’t the only virus where exposure makes you seriously ill. Perhaps more disturbing, many of these diseases can be found in places you frequent.


Your desk is swarming with germs. One study says your desk alone has 21,000 different types of microbe per square inch. The chair you sit on has 21,000 per square inch. Your keyboard has 3, 295 germs per square inch. Your mouse and phone? They have 1,676 and 25,127 germs per square inch respectively.

We’ve singled a few of these diseases out for honourable mention because they are commonly found at these locations. The next time you pick up your phone to call a client or tap on your keyboard while having a snack, think about what you might be exposing yourself to.

The Dirty Half Dozen

Strep Throat

Feeling a little tickle in your throat? Within a few hours, your throat feels dryer than the Sahara and you can barely swallow. You may have had an encounter with the streptococcus bacteria.

Strep throat mainly affects the tonsils and can be uncomfortable, but other types of streptococcus can result in life-threatening diseases like meningitis. There are even groups of streptococcus that result in flesh-eating conditions.


Yes, it was what you ate. But not the way you think. 

When you eat at your desk at work and you don’t regularly disinfect, you could be eating the remains of prior meals that are now habouring mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Gastroenteritis is the virus that causes stomach flu. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.


This is commonly referred to as the “stomach bug”. It will cause vomiting and diarrhea, but can also be accompanied by a high fever and body aches. 

Norovirus is highly contagious. So it doesn’t even need to specifically be on your desk to make you sick. You can pick it up while speaking to a colleague at theirs.

This is why it’s so important for good office hygiene practices to be implemented across the board.


Better known as the common cold, there’s a reason common is part of its name. Once one person in the office gets this, everybody gets it.

The virus is easily transmissible through the fluids released when people sneeze and cough.

The droplets land on your computer, keyboard, mouse, and phone waiting to infect you or anyone else.

Once infected, it can keep you down for 1-2 weeks with fever, headaches, coughs, sore throat, and a general feeling of weakness.


Think how many times you touch your face, specifically your eyes, and then touch your keyboard, mouse, or computer screen. 

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is transmitted by the fluids from the eye of someone who is already infected.

If you catch this, symptoms can range from mild itching and redness to severe pain in the eyes.


This list wouldn’t be complete without the flu. Another highly contagious disease, influenza can cause respiratory discomfort, muscle pain, fevers, headache, and body aches.

People with healthy immune systems usually get over the flu with over-the-counter medication and rest. However, it can seriously affect immuno-compromised people, even resulting in fatalities.

Influenza can live on hard surfaces like your keyboard and mouse for up to 48 hours.

What can you do?

Implementing a cleaning regime that includes regular disinfection of office surfaces goes a long way to preventing the diseases we mentioned.

We are qualified and experienced and we follow the most detailed protocols to ensure your office and employees remain healthy. Browse our website to see what we do or call us for more information at 0141 374 2869.

Wondering how to get your equipment properly clean?