Can Money Make You Sick?

If you don’t usually wash your hands after handling money, you might want to. An analysis of microbes living on banknotes collected from hospitals and metro stations in Hong Kong suggests dangerous pathogens can populate on paper money. The research — detailed in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology — offers clues as to how bacterial and viral infections spread across the globe. Researcher Jun Li explains, “In short, banknotes act as a medium ‘absorbing’ bacteria from other environments and the potential pathogens live quite well on the banknote surface.” Scientists also found a higher concentration of antibiotic-resistance genes among microbes collected from banknotes. Li suggests banks and currency printers pay closer attention to the hygiene risks inherent in handling money.

If you’re worried, feel free to send your filthy, dirty, germ-encrusted money to us for proper disposal. (UPI)