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Filthy phones and germ-infested keyboards mean that anyone eating their lunch while at their desk could be biting off more than they can chew. In fact, a recent report by the University of Arizona found that the typical office desk harbours around 400-times more disease-causing bacteria than a toilet seat.

The muckiest spots were shown to be the telephone and desktop, followed by the keyboard and computer mouse. But the highest levels of bacteria were found on the fax machines - three times more than on a toilet door.

Intrigued by the findings, Manchester recruitment agency, Connections, quizzed 500 office workers to find how clean people are at work. Its survey found that people simply don't look after their workspace enough, with just one in three cleaning their desks, keyboards and phones once every three months.

Said Neal Etchells, a consultant with Professional Health and Safety Consultants: "One of the reasons for the decline in workplace hygiene is that many offices have cut down on professional cleaning, relying instead on employees to clean their own work areas - and it's simply not happening.

"With more workers eating lunch at their desks, it amounts to an alarming health hazard. Food left decaying on desks attracts cockroaches and other vermin, which can find their way into air conditioning systems and bring about viral diseases." Which is nice. ®

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