nettime's_roving_reporter on Fri, 20 Jul 2001 20:51:45 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> dirty money


     [via <tbyfield@panix.com>]

<http://www.newscientist.com/conferences/confarticle.jsp?conf=amsmi200105&id=ns9999788>

NEWS
Orlando, US, May  2001
  
Dirty money
  
US dollar bills are home to dozens of potentially dangerous pathogens
  
Most US dollar bills are bacteria farms, cultivating dozens of potentially
dangerous pathogens, a study in Ohio has revealed. The finding raises the
possibility that paper money could be transporting antibiotic resistant
bacteria quickly from one geographic area to another, say the researchers.

  Peter Ender, chief of infectious diseases at the US Air Force's
Wright-Patterson Medical Center near Dayton, Ohio, and his colleagues
collected 68 dollar bills from a grocery store and a gymnasium.

They soaked the notes in a nutrient broth, and left them for 24 hours.
Next, they smeared samples of the broth onto plates for analysis.

 "There were a fair number of plates that were just clogged with an
overgrowth of bacteria," says Theodore Pope, a co-researcher in the study.

Living happily

In fact, the team identified 93 species of bacteria. Some 94 per cent of
the bills harboured pathogens with the potential to cause disease,
particularly in people with impaired immune systems.

Particularly dangerous bacteria - such as Klebsiella pneumonia, which
causes pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause food
poisoning - were living happily on seven per cent of the bills.

"I don't think we should look at money as being unsafe to society," says
Ender. It is possible that a person might contract a disease from handling
contaminated notes. But all the bacteria identified by the team routinely
colonise humans without necessarily causing problems, Ender says.

 Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.



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