E.coli bug on banknotes - scientist

09 Mar 2012

The E.coli bug can be found on some banknotes and notes can harbour more germs than the average toilet seat, an expert in biological and chemical sciences has warned.

When Dr Ron Cutler analysed 200 notes and 45 credit cards he found high bacteria levels on 26% of the notes and 47% of the cards.

The senior lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London found E.coli on some notes along with Staphylococcus aureus which, although it can lead to infections, is often carried by people with no resultant problems.

In the study, commissioned to mark the DVD and digital download release of the film Contagion, bacterial traces were found on 80% of notes and 78% of credit cards tested.

It could surprise some people to learn that most British banknotes contain bacteria, said Dr Cutler. He added that everyone handles money daily but people are not likely to wash their hands directly afterwards.

"Good hand hygiene at all times can help prevent the spread of infection," he said.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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