A Bacterial Jungle Is Thriving in Your Wallet

Another reason to wash your hands more often.
A vendor counts banknotes at the Yau Ma Tei fruit market in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on March 13, 2017. A new study from the University of Hong Kong suggests that paper money may be a way to monitor the microbes circulating around a city.
06_30_DirtyMoney_01 Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty

For some time now, various forces have been pushing us away from using paper money to pay for things. That goal may have a hidden bonus: Cash, it turns out, is crawling with bacteria.

Although researchers have known for some time that microbes can, and do, live on money, a new study from Hong Kong shows that these bacterial communities are more substantial than previously suspected. Cash, it turns out, could be an excellent way to monitor the microbes circulating through a city.

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