Dirty money

2008-07-02 00:00

THE adjective “dirty” is often applied to money. A recent study has produced startling evidence of just how appropriate this is — in the most literal sense. Bank notes as well as coins have been shown to carry all manner of nasty bacteria which can cause a variety of illnesses, especially infections in people with compromised immune systems.

The best defence has been shown to be regular and repeated hand-washing, not only when handling money but after passing through other key germ-transmission points — fondling pets, coughing or sneezing and going to the lavatory. Washing, moreover, requires the use of soap for the best results, not just rinsing hands under running water. Further research has shown that the rate of diarrhoea can be thus reduced by 30% and the spread of respiratory viruses similarly stunted. And hand-washing before preparing food is especially valuable in fighting disease.

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