Another peril to be added to the innocent looking office environment, to go with repetitive stress syndrome, you can now add upset stomachs and vomiting. It has been independently investigated by microbiologists, who examined 33 keyboards and found a wide range of bugs including E Coli, and S. aeureus, which makes people ill.
The microbiologists swabbed a public toilet and the majority of the keyboards had higher bacterial content, 1 keyboard in particular had 5 X more bacteria than the toilet swabs. Four further keyboards had high levels of coliform bacteria, that are linked to fetal matter. The main problem, is that people are working more and spending more time at their desks, some even have lunch their?when the crumbs lodge between the keys of the keyboard, bacteria grow rapidly, this is the ideal environment. One of the simplest ways to rid the keyboard of bacteria is to tip the bits out and clean it with a wet wipe every week. Several companies are now using flexible sealed keyboards, so that every fortnight, they are submerged into a bath of chemicals that kills any bacteria, the businesses found that they had less people off sick since implementing this cleaning regime. You are right in thinking, that you cannot (nor should you) put a normal keyboard into any liquid! The sealed keyboards are sealed to IP68 or NEMA4, this is a waterproof standard in Europe and the USA.
And prevents and liquid entering the keyboard. The normal applications for these keyboards is in food process areas, so at the end of the shift, the production area is washed down with high powered pressure jets, killing any bugs or bacteria. The keyboards come in both PS2 and USB and plug straight into a standard computer. Mice can also be as dirty, the other option is a sealed unit, called a trackball, this is a small neoprene ball that when pressed down and rotated, moves the curser on the screen, just like a mouse, the only difference being, the trackball cannot trap dirt or bacteria.
Many Industrial keyboards have these fitted as standard.
Computer Security & Solutions are a specialist manufacture of Industrial PC Enclosures for standard computers. A range of Industrial keyboards can be seen at www.pcenclosures-direct.com/pccabs.html