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Fecal matter found on 1 in 6 cellphones

The presence of E. coli on so many mobile phones suggests people aren't washing their hands with soap when they ought to.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 18, 2011 10:26AM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.

 

MainStreet on MSN MoneyYou might wash your hands after reading this stat: Researchers in the U.K. have discovered that one in six mobile phones in Britain have fecal matter on them.

 

The study found that 16% of hands and 16% of phones tested positive for E. coli, a bacteria of a fecal origin, say scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London. Post continues after video.

E. coli, a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and kidney failure in severe cases, was the cause of a deadly outbreak in Europe this summer that resulted in 31 deaths and illness of more than 3,000.

 

Researchers say the contamination suggests that people are not as diligent about their personal hygiene as they say they are. Scientists discovered that although 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of phones and 82% of hands had the bacteria on them.

 

"People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise," Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary, University of London, said in a written statement.

 

Results are based on 390 samples taken from mobile phones and owners' hands in 12 cities. The study was conducted in tandem with Global Handwashing Day, held every year on Oct. 15. Its aim is to "transform the action of washing hands with soap into an automatic behavior," say researchers.

 

"I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom," Val Curtis, leader for Global Handwashing Day from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a written statement. "Washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives."

 

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