Science Questions

Does money carry germs?

Sun, 6th Dec 2009

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Derick asked:

Iíve got a question about hygiene. Weíre told to wash our hands to avoid contaminating things with germs that we might have picked up. But I was wondering, surely money could be a carrier for such germs too as itís swapped from person to person quite frequently, any thoughts?


Yes, certainly money can be a vector for infection and as an example, lets look at norovirus, which causes winter vomiting disease (but more recently, vomiting all around the world at all times of the year Ė itís becoming incredibly common).  Norovirus is a tiny particle, one 30,000th of a millimetre across, can very easily be transmitted from one surface to another.  They can survive seven changes - so if you touch something, and someone else touches it and picks it up, they can then transfer it seven times and the virus still remains infectious.  You only need to pick up one of them to get infected.  Yuck!


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