Posted by Neharika Sabharwal on October 20, 2012

Shocking but true! Bank notes and credit cards could be the hotbed of crawling harmful disease causing germs, bacteria and viruses, claims a recent study.

According to experts, the fight against contamination is literally in your hands, as a high percentage of infections are spread through hand contact.

"People may tell us they wash their hands but the research shows us different, and highlights just how easily transferable these pathogens [are] -- surviving on our money and cards," study researcher Dr. Ron Cutler of Queen Mary, University of London, said in a statement.

272 people surveyed
For the purpose of the study, the researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine surveyed 272 people in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The participants of the scientific study answered a questionnaire and had their hands, money and cards were swabbed for bacteria.

The swabs were cultured for the presence of staphylococci bacteria, fecal bacteria E. Coli, Streptococcus faecalis and Enteroccoci.

Findings
The study found nearly 91 percent of the respondents washed their hands after using the bathroom, while 39 percent washed up before eating.

It was noted that 28 percent of the swabs were heavily contaminated with bacteria and 26 percent had traces of fecal bacteria.

Disgusting as it may sound but 11 percent of the swabs from the hands, eight percent from cards and six percent from the bills harbored levels of bacteria comparable to a dirty toilet bowl.

Though the best germicidal thing one can do is to wash hands with soap and water that cuts the risk of diarrhoeal infections by up to 42 percent, only 69 percent of people reported doing this whenever possible.

Dr Ron Cutler said, “Our analysis revealed that by handling cards and money each day we are coming into contact with some potential pathogens revealing faecal contamination including E. coli and Staphylococci.

“People may tell us they wash their hands but the research shows us different, and highlights just how easily transferable these pathogens are, surviving on our money and cards.”

So wash up, people, and get ready to wage a germ warfare!

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