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Oct, 6, 2012

Wenger may ban handshakes to fight virus

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he may ban his players from shaking hands as the club has moved to try and prevent the spread of a virus sweeping through the team.

• Blog: Facing an old foe

Wenger will hope to welcome back Per Mertesacker into his team for Saturday's trip to West Ham after he was struck down with the flu-like illness, forcing him to sit out the 3-1 Champions League win over Olympiakos on Wednesday.

Mertesacker, 28, became the latest member of the squad to catch the virus in recent weeks, following Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Thomas Vermaelen.

And Wenger admits that the club have made an effort to step up their hygiene levels to try to prevent a further outbreak, while handshakes could be off the agenda in and around the dressing rooms.

"We have improved the level of hygiene in the dressing room, we clean everything. It is funny, but shaking hands is one of the biggest things to spread a virus," Wenger said.

"I shake hands with everybody, but we are advised not to do it when there is a high level of risk."

However, Wenger is confident that the danger has now passed and is hopeful that he will not lose any more players to the virus.

"At the moment it has passed and is not a high level. A few have it, but it is not necessarily the case that they got it here," he added.

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