Say hello to the bacteria on your keyboard: all 500 types of them!
In a new study, researchers took swabs of a variety of office equipment in New York, San Francisco, and Tucson. They found more than 500 types of bacteria, most of which normally live on our skin or in our nasal, oral, and intestinal cavities. Chairs and phones accumulated the most bacteria, followed by desktops, keyboards, and computer mice.
In a few cases, hardy microbes commonly found in hot springs and volcanic islands also appeared in the mix, perhaps tracked into the office following a vacation to St. Lucia or Yellowstone.
New York and San Francisco's bacterial diversity was virtually identical despite their nearly 4700-kilometer divide, while Tucson's microbes were more variable and tended to be heavy on desert soil bacteria in addition to the human-derived species. San Francisco offices were the least contaminated.