Of bacteria, crumbs and QWERTY.

The innards of most computer keyboards look a lot like the bottom of a restaurant toaster oven. But it's the gunk you can't see that has hospitals increasingly worried about the keyboard's role in spreading disease.

A study at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital found that keyboards make comfy hosts for a variety nasty germs, a growing worry as more hospitals put computers in patient rooms and adopt more electronic record keeping. As part of the study, reported here, two common types of bacteria common to hospitals were found to survive more than 24 hours between the keys.

After they figure out how to protect patients from grimy keyboards, hospital administrators might have to turn their attention to the TV remote controls in every room.

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