Your filthy iPad is an excellent vector for transmitting influenza and other viruses, scientists say. In fact, if it's anywhere near as bacteria infested as a cell phone, you should be fairly disgusted to share the Apple tablet without sterilization.

A study from the July Journal of Applied Microbiology found a high risk of transmitting pathogens from glass surfaces like the iPad's to human skin. "If you're sharing the device, then you're sharing your influenza with someone else who touches it," coauthor and Stanford doctoral student Timothy Julian told the Sacramento Bee. "If you put virus on a surface, like an iPhone, about 30 percent of it will get on your fingertips." From there a virus can travel to your nose or eyes and infect you.

Yes, there are plenty of other ways to spread the flu, from sharing water glasses to touching the same elevator buttons or keyboards as an infected person. But handheld electronic devices can get especially nasty. A hygiene expert hired by British Which magazine sampled 30 mobile phones and found them to be, on average, 18 times more packed with harmful germs than a men's toilet handle. And you get your dirty fingers all over the iPad in a way you never would with a phone. So at least consider following AOL writer David Knowles' advice and get yourself an antibacterial iPad cloth. Your family will thank you.

[AOL, photo, top, via, iPad photo via Simon Chow/Flickr]