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Fecal bacteria found on cell phones could upset the stomach

By Kathleen Blanchard     Oct 15, 2011 in Health
Now researchers have found E.coli on cell phones – the bacteria found in feces. The bacteria can lead to an upset stomach just from the thought of putting intestinal bacteria next to your ear.
In the UK study, 16 percent of cell phones sampled had intestinal bacteria that can lead to cramps, nausea and diarrhea.
Researchers say the bacteria, which really should remain confined to the intestines, is found on mobile phones (and shopping carts, doorknobs and all manner of places from past studies), simply because people aren’t washing their hands.
In the study, 95 percent of people sampled said they did use soap and water for hand washing, yet 92 percent of phone had a variety of bacteria on them.
Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Washroom Solutions, said the “research is shocking and demonstrates the importance of effective hygiene. It is critical that people take hand hygiene seriously and that businesses offer their employees and customers a practical way of protecting themselves to help combat the spread of illness."
E.coli can cause more than an upset stomach. The bacteria can spread on food and was implicated as the cause of a June, 2011 outbreak of food poisoning in Germany from the E.coli 0157 stain that caused some fatalities.
For the study, researchers traveled to 12 cities to sample bacteria on mobile phone and on people’s hands. They also asked about hand washing habits of the cell phone users.
The highest rate of E.coli on hands was found in London. Cell phone fecal bacteria were most prevalent in Birmingham.
There was a direct correlation between cell phone bacteria and bacteria on the hands. The further North the researchers went, the more bacteria they found. The dirtiest place was in Glasgow.
The study shows hand washing is no joke for wellness Spreading germs can be curbed by simply taking time for personal hygiene – especially after going to the loo.
"Our analysis revealed some interesting results from around the UK. While some cities did much better than others, the fact that E. coli was present on phones and hands in every location shows this is a nationwide problem. People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise."
E.coli can survive for hours. Sunlight kills the bacteria. Doorknobs, food carts, toilet seats, hands and now cell phones have been implicated for spreading viruses and bacteria.
Hygiene expert and UK campaign leader for Global Handwashing Day Dr Val Curtis, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "This study provides more evidence that some people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet.
I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom – washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."
More about Cell phone, E coli, Mobile phone, Bacteria, UK study