Offices are becoming increasingly unhygienic as more workers eat lunch at their desk, making them more prone to illness, according to new research.
A hygiene firm said tests showed computer mice were the filthiest part of workers' desks, containing more than three times the levels of bacteria-related contamination than on the average toilet seat.
Computer keyboards were the second most unhygienic piece of office equipment, said Initial Washroom Hygiene, which carried out tests on over 150 separate items in 40 different workstations in a number of offices.
Male workers were found to have dirtier workstations.
Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Hygiene, said: "It is now common for office workers to spend their lunch hour eating at their desk, often surfing the web or continuing to type at the same time.
"This leaves crumbs and other food residue all over the work station, but particularly on mice and keyboards, making them ideal places for bacteria and other micro-organisms to survive and multiply.
"In addition, because they are electrical devices, these items aren't cleaned as regularly or as thoroughly as other parts of the office, or even as the desks themselves."