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London Underground commuters are exposed to killer germs

 

Scientists have discovered the cocktail of germs and bacteria being picked up by people on London‘s public transport every day.

Millions could be leaving themselves open to skin infections, respiratory infections and even food poisoning.

Among the bugs found were bacteria from the Staphylococcus species, including S. aureus – which can cause skin infections, respiratory infections such as sinusitis and food poisoning.

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Millions could be leaving themselves open to skin infections, respiratory infections and even food poisoning from using public transport every day (stock image)

Millions could be leaving themselves open to skin infections, respiratory infections and even food poisoning from using public transport every day (stock image)

Millions could be leaving themselves open to skin infections, respiratory infections and even food poisoning from using public transport every day (stock image)

WHAT GERMS ARE ON THE TUBE? 

Among the bugs found were bacteria from the Staphylococcus species, including S. aureus – which can cause skin infections, respiratory infections such as sinusitis and food poisoning.

Bacteria from the Pseudomonas species was also identified, including P. aeruginosa, which is a common, opportunistic pathogen.

While it’s not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way.

There were also some other proteobacterial species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, of which some can cause diseases such as food poisoning, although many do not do this.

Several different fungi, which are spread by spores floating around in the air and on surfaces, were also found.

A test of surfaces touched daily by commuters and tourists on London’s tube system was commissioned by Coldzyme to highlight the number of germs and bacteria we come into contact with every day.

A commuter used the Tube wearing a white glove and touched surfaces such as chip and pins pads on ticket machines, handrails on escalators and stairs and grab-handles in tube carriages.

Dr Jacob Malone, joint group leader at the University for East Anglia and the John Innes Centre then analysed the glove and found a mixture of bacteria and fungi. 

Bacteria from the Pseudomonas species was also identified, including P. aeruginosa, which is a common, opportunistic pathogen.

While it’s not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way.

There were also some other proteobacterial species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, of which some can cause diseases such as food poisoning, although many do not do this.

A test of surfaces touched daily by commuters and tourists on London's tube system was commissioned by Coldzyme to highlight the number of germs and bacteria we come into contact with every day

A test of surfaces touched daily by commuters and tourists on London's tube system was commissioned by Coldzyme to highlight the number of germs and bacteria we come into contact with every day

A test of surfaces touched daily by commuters and tourists on London’s tube system was commissioned by Coldzyme to highlight the number of germs and bacteria we come into contact with every day

A commuter used the Tube wearing a white glove and touched surfaces such as chip and pins pads on ticket machines

A commuter used the Tube wearing a white glove and touched surfaces such as chip and pins pads on ticket machines

Experts also touched handrails on escalators and stairs and grab-handles in tube carriages

Experts also touched handrails on escalators and stairs and grab-handles in tube carriages

A commuter used the Tube wearing a white glove and touched surfaces such as chip and pins pads on ticket machines, handrails on escalators and stairs and grab-handles in tube carriages

Bacteria from the Pseudomonas species was also identified, including P. aeruginosa, which is a common, opportunistic pathogen

Bacteria from the Pseudomonas species was also identified, including P. aeruginosa, which is a common, opportunistic pathogen

Bacteria from the Pseudomonas species was also identified, including P. aeruginosa, which is a common, opportunistic pathogen

Several different fungi, which are spread by spores floating around in the air and on surfaces, were also found.

Dr Jacob Malone, said: ‘The range of bacterial species we isolated was quite large, with many different species, and many shapes, sizes and colours of colonies present.

‘The bacterial colonies we see on the plates only represent a tiny subset of the different species that were likely to be present in each case, as the vast majority of bacterial species cannot be grown up in the lab.

While it's not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way

While it's not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way

While it’s not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way

There were also some other proteobacterial species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, of which some can cause diseases such as food poisoning, although many do not do this

There were also some other proteobacterial species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, of which some can cause diseases such as food poisoning, although many do not do this

There were also some other proteobacterial species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, of which some can cause diseases such as food poisoning, although many do not do this

Several different fungi, which are spread by spores floating around in the air and on surfaces, were also found

Several different fungi, which are spread by spores floating around in the air and on surfaces, were also found

Dr Jacob Malone, said: 'The range of bacterial species we isolated was quite large, with many different species, and many shapes, sizes and colours of colonies present

Dr Jacob Malone, said: 'The range of bacterial species we isolated was quite large, with many different species, and many shapes, sizes and colours of colonies present

Several different fungi, which are spread by spores floating around in the air and on surfaces, were also found

NEW YORK SUBWAY

A previous study has suggested the Tube is not the only transport system riddled with bacteria – the New York subway also has some unwelcome commuters.

In 2015 scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College unveiled their findings after 18 months swabbing turnstiles, ticket kiosks, railings and benches for DNA on the world’s largest transport system.

They found 15,152 different types of microorganisms that share the train with its 5.5 million riders, including bubonic plague, dysentery and meningitis. 

‘What we found was totally normal for any set of surfaces that come into contact with people daily’, he said. 

Researchers said a small fraction of the bacteria in any environment are dangerous, and even then, only in specific situations.

‘The whole world is teeming with bacteria and fungi, and this is a normal and healthy situation’, said Dr Malone.  

‘Obviously, people should exercise proper care and attention, and I would not recommend eating food that has dropped on the subway floor or licking the furniture, but there is no particular cause for alarm.’

A spokesman for Coldzyme added: ‘As we go about our day-to-day lives, we come into contact with a host of germs and bacteria, particularly in public spaces such as the transport network or our work places.

‘Whether it’s a bacteria that can cause an infection or sickness bug or a simple cold virus, any one of them has the potential to leave to feeling at least a little under the weather.

The bacterial colonies we see on the plates only represent a tiny subset of the different species that were likely to be present in each case, as the vast majority of bacterial species cannot be grown up in the lab, researchers found

The bacterial colonies we see on the plates only represent a tiny subset of the different species that were likely to be present in each case, as the vast majority of bacterial species cannot be grown up in the lab, researchers found

The bacterial colonies we see on the plates only represent a tiny subset of the different species that were likely to be present in each case, as the vast majority of bacterial species cannot be grown up in the lab, researchers found

'The whole world is teeming with bacteria and fungi, and this is a normal and healthy situation', said Dr Malone

'The whole world is teeming with bacteria and fungi, and this is a normal and healthy situation', said Dr Malone

‘The whole world is teeming with bacteria and fungi, and this is a normal and healthy situation’, said Dr Malone

'What we found was totally normal for any set of surfaces that come into contact with people daily', said Dr Malone, who tested the germs in the lab 

'What we found was totally normal for any set of surfaces that come into contact with people daily', said Dr Malone, who tested the germs in the lab 

‘What we found was totally normal for any set of surfaces that come into contact with people daily’, said Dr Malone, who tested the germs in the lab 

‘Protecting yourself as much as possible from the harmful germs and bacteria is the best defence, by doing things such as wearing gloves, covering your mouth and nose when your sneeze and washing your hands regularly.’

A previous study has suggested the Tube is not the only transport system riddled with bacteria – the New York subway also has some unwelcome commuters.

In 2015 scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College unveiled their findings after 18 months swabbing turnstiles, ticket kiosks, railings and benches for DNA on the world’s largest transport system.

A spokesman for Coldzyme added: 'As we go about our day-to-day lives, we come into contact with a host of germs and bacteria, particularly in public spaces such as the transport network or our work places

A spokesman for Coldzyme added: 'As we go about our day-to-day lives, we come into contact with a host of germs and bacteria, particularly in public spaces such as the transport network or our work places

A spokesman for Coldzyme added: ‘As we go about our day-to-day lives, we come into contact with a host of germs and bacteria, particularly in public spaces such as the transport network or our work places

Whether it's a bacteria that can cause an infection or sickness bug or a simple cold virus, any one of them has the potential to leave to feeling at least a little under the weather, researchers found, pictured here doing lab tests

Whether it's a bacteria that can cause an infection or sickness bug or a simple cold virus, any one of them has the potential to leave to feeling at least a little under the weather, researchers found, pictured here doing lab tests

Whether it’s a bacteria that can cause an infection or sickness bug or a simple cold virus, any one of them has the potential to leave to feeling at least a little under the weather, researchers found, pictured here doing lab tests

Researchers recommended wearing gloves, covering your mouth when your sneeze and washing your hands regularly. Pictured are germs and bacteria being tested in the lab

Researchers recommended wearing gloves, covering your mouth when your sneeze and washing your hands regularly. Pictured are germs and bacteria being tested in the lab

Researchers recommended wearing gloves, covering your mouth when your sneeze and washing your hands regularly. Pictured are germs and bacteria being tested in the lab

They found 15,152 different types of microorganisms that share the train with its 5.5 million riders, including bubonic plague, dysentery and meningitis.

The study, which used a super computer to study more than 10 billion biomedical fragments, was apparently inspired by Dr Mason seeing his daughter, then in preschool, sticking toys in her mouth in 2010.

Scientists and volunteers started the project in 2013 and found 637 known bacterial, viral, fungal and animal species when swabbing the spaces between commuters and street musicians and logging the data in real time with a mobile app.

Most of the bacteria the group found were harmless, though nearly half (48 per cent) of the DNA found matched no known organisms, according to the published study at Cell.com.

 

 

 

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