(Griffin-AP) -- On Tuesday and Thursday for the past three weeks, Sunny Griffin has packed pieces of raw meat infested with E- coli bacteria under her fingernails for a study testing the best way to clean nails.
Preliminary results of the University of Georgia study indicate that artificial nails need more effort than natural nails to get clean.
Scrubbing with water alone doesn't do the trick.
Thats the word from Chia Lin, research coordinator for the study being conducted by the university's Center for Food Safety in Griffin.
Lin says artificial nails require ``nail brushing'' -- using a specific brush such as surgeons use -- to be cleaned properly.
She says the longer the nail is, the harder it is to clean.
Hand washing with regular hand soap appears to work fine in cleaning natural nails.
The research project, which is expected to be completed in September, tests ways to remove microorganisms from beneath nails.
State health officials turned to the center to find the most effective nail-cleaning methods after 200 people got sick from eating cake icing made in Glynn County.
Officials said a sick bakery worker with artificial nails used the bathroom at work but didn't adequately wash her hands before icing a cake. The cake was later found to be contaminated with the Norwalk virus.
Symptoms of Norwalk, which is named after the Ohio town where it was isolated, include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The symptoms usually end in a day or two.
The virus is transmitted through food, direct contact and by sharing linens, towels and bathrooms. Good hygiene, including regular hand-washing, is the best way to prevent spreading it.