Say Hello to Bacteria on Your Smartphone!

Think of this the next time you fiddle with your smartphone: it's a nest of germs! Caroline Porter of the Wall Street Journal explains why cell phones are not only great for sharing photos - they're also great for sharing bacteria:

Even though computers, keys, pens and landline phones can harbor germs, many people's cellphones have become extra appendages—never far from the pillow, health club treadmill or restaurant table.

"We're feeding the little creatures," says Michael Schmidt, a professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina. "We've all seen that greasy smear [on the touch screen]. Where there is grease, there are bugs."

A lab tested eight randomly selected phones from a Chicago office for this article. The phones showed no signs of E. coli or staphylococci bacteria. But all phones showed abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination. Of the eight phones tested by HML Labs of Muncie, Ind., there were between about 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria. In drinking water, the limit is less than 1 unit per 100 ml of water.

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