Did I Touch That?

By Malary Pullen

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Germs and bacteria are everywhere.  It's in what we eat and what we touch. Microbiologists at the University of Southern Mississippi helped us test three surfaces to see the types of microbes you are touching every day. These test results will make you ask yourself… did I touch that.

“You can see the hairs growing off the top of that big large one that's representative of fungus.”

 According to microbiology instructor Cynthia Littlejohn, each surface has some form of bacteria, fungus or E. coli.

We decided to test samples from three surfaces, and here are our results.

 “Do you see the green hue, the shiny metallic hue there, that indicates that it’s not just interacting but it's indicative of fecal contamination?”

Interact bacteria lives inside the body… specifically in someone's intestines… meaning someone did not wash their hands after using the restroom. Before touching this grocery cart….

A green sheen on these plates means E. coli was found.

 “On your money, it's right along where I streaked.”

 Littlejohn says money changes hands so often that it's the most contaminated out of these three surfaces.

 “I’ve seen people pull a handkerchief out on their gas pump. But who cleans their money… nobody.”

 The gas pump was the most infected with E. coli

 “For the fecal contamination, maybe it was just the one that you chose. The gas pump seemed to have the heaviest level of contamination.”

As far as common bacteria, they're everywhere like on a shopping cart. But there seems to be more growing on them than what you think.

 “There are a number of microbes that live in and on your body that actually helps you fight off others, they literally are a part of your defense.”

 In reality less than one percent of these microbes cause diseases. But your best offense is a good defense….

 “One of the most effective ways to reduce the transmission of infectious disease is literally washing your hands.”

 Littlejohn says hand sanitizer evaporates so fast it doesn't remove some bacteria… using soap and water is your most effective tool. 

 “Good ole fashion dial soap is one of the most affective disinfectant type compounds.”

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