That clean shave you get from your barber could be a point of viral transmission between you and the other person serviced with the same clipper.
Researchers have found that the blades of hair clippers tend to pick up blood from pimples on the scalp, and this same blood may infect the other clients if it comes from someone with Hepatitis B, according to the City Press.
The research was conducted in and around Cape Town, and the sample included clippers from 50 barbershops in the area. It was found that nearly half of the clippers tested positive for traces of blood, the Sunday paper reports.
Given the ubiquity of the chiskop hairstyle and other styles that require a clean shave among black men, this could pose a serious problem. Hepatitis B, a liver disease, is one of the infections that can be transmitted through the hair clippers. Hepatitis B is serious, but manageable.
The risk of a virus such as HIV has not yet been quantified.
Barbers routinely clean the blades of their clippers with either methylated spirits or exposure to an open flame, the research found, but neither of these methods are enough to ensure complete safety.
This health threat in the form of everyday activities or objects that seem innocuous follows the listeriosis crisis that turned many South Africans off polony and other cold meats.
After investigations, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in February announced that the source of the listeria bacteria was the various cold meats sold in supermarkets, particularly from the Enterprise brand.
By that time, the bacterial infection had killed more than one hundred people around the country.