Remember that friend of yours who you think is crazy for washing hands again and again? Remember all those times you mocked over his washing and cleaning rituals and teased him about his OCD? Well, turns out he’s much smarter than you think you are.
Harmful bacteria and infectious microbes are present everywhere. From your washroom to your office desks to your ATM machines. Yes! Your automated teller machines are no exception.
Scientists at the New York University have tested the microbes found at the ATMs and here’s what their research says – The microbes that the researchers found on the keypads most commonly identified with that of household sources like televisions, restrooms, kitchens and pillows, and also from chicken.
The lead author of the NYU project, Holly M. Bik wrote in his study, “ATM surfaces, potentially retaining microbial signatures of human inhabitants … are interesting from both a biodiversity perspective and a public health perspective.”
During their research, they found Toxoplasma, the microbe that is present in the infectious disease Toxoplasmosis. Among the other microbes that they found was protists, that is associated with intestinal tract and also a bug related to sexually transmitted diseases.
Jane Carlton, the director of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and a senior study author of biology at NYU said, “Our results suggest that ATM keypads integrate microbes from different sources, including the human microbiome, foods, and potentially novel environmental organisms adapted to air or surfaces.”
She also stated that the DNA obtained from the ATM keypads could have provided a record of human as well as environmental sources of microbe.
Whether there is a difference in the microbes found in the ATM keypads indoors and outdoors is something the researchers are still trying to figure out.
So, the next time you stand in that long queue outside an ATM to withdraw cash, don’t forget to carry your sanitizer along.
All images sourced from istock.