Could ATMs be dirtier than public bathrooms?

The answer is yes! According to a British study.

You might remember from last year’s H1N1 media crash course on microbes and viruses, that our little friends can be quite fun, and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and other ailments. Bacteria can also carry viruses like the common flu, or the funnier Solanum virus.

Richard Hastings, a microbiologist at BioCote, the company that sponsored the study, says he swabbed samples from the keypads of ATMs and prepared some petri dish cultures on which he let the bacteria grow.

The bacteria culture grew to the same level counts as those swabbed from public lavatories which, although quite alarming, is not very surprising. In fact, it reminds me of a study from a couple years ago, which claimed that the most viral item in a motel room was the television remote control, this forced me to revise my previous theory, that the most virally infected thing in a motel room, was the hooker.

So here’s my advise; Stay away from anything that a lot of different, anonymous people handle, like hand-ramps, public phones, Ke$ha…

In the mean time, I’d like to let the bank managers know that there are specialized cleaning companies they can hire. Let’s hope they pay attention and start having their ATMs cleaned, before we wind up with another zombie outbreak.

HeadlineScience and Tech

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3 Comments on this post.
  • Tweets that mention Could ATMs be dirtier than public bathrooms? —
    14 January 2011 at 8:17 pm
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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ana_Milena, Alltop Odd. Alltop Odd said: Could ATMs be dirtier than public bathrooms? […]

  • Can food court trays have more bacteria than gas station toilets?
    17 February 2011 at 12:48 pm
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    […] up on our article from a few weeks ago, when we all learned to wash our hands after using the ATM, we’ve now discovered, that food court trays may have more bacteria than gas station toilets. […]

  • Are refillable soap dispensers a microbial trap?
    3 May 2011 at 12:03 pm
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    […] Furthermore, the study also showed that these bacteria can be directly redistributed by hand contact onto other surfaces like door handles and ATM keypads. […]

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