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Poo, E. coli and bacteria all found on mobile phones

Researchers have found that mobile phones are a breeding ground for bacteria, with one in six being covered in faecal matter. A joint study carried ou...

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|Oct 14|magazine7 min read

Researchers have found that mobile phones are a breeding ground for bacteria, with one in six being covered in faecal matter.  

A joint study carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LHSTM) and the Queen Mary University of London found E.coli was also present on handsets.

It is though poor personal hygiene is to blame for the shocking results, with many people not using soap to wash their hands after going to the toilet.

The results of the study were released ahead of Global Handwashing Day, which is being held on 15 October.

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The team took swabs from the hands and mobile phones of 395 people and 95 percent said they washed their hands thoroughly with soap.

However, dangerous bacteria were present on 82 percent of hands and 92 percent of cell phones and harmful E.coli was discovered on 16 percent of both hands and phones.

These inconsistencies have also led researchers to believe people lie about their levels of personal hygiene and hand washing techniques.

The study has also highlighted varying results between different regions of the UK.

Contamination was present on 41 percent of phones in Birmingham compared to 28 percent of handsets in London.

In talking to BBC News, Dr Val Curtis from the LHSTM explained why the results could be so different. "We found the further north we went the more hands and phones were likely to be contaminated,” she said.

“It could be the bugs survive better in colder and wetter conditions or it might be that people wash their hands less.”

Curtis added: “This study provides more evidence that some people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet.

“I hope the thought of having E.coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom - washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives.”

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