This post initially appeared on Science Blogs

I saw this link on a friend's facebook page, and left that tab open in my browser for a while, intending to write a post on it.

Professor Charles Gerba, the lead researcher, swabbed the handles of 85 carts in four states for bacterial contamination.

Gerba says 72% of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.

I just couldn't muster the energy. Thankfully, Mike the Mad Biologist took care of this one. both S. aureus and E. coli are commensal organisms: they live on and in us, and typically don't cause disease--usually, only when they wind up where they don't belong. If you come into contact with them--the aforementioned wiping your ass--you'll be fine unless you're severely immunocompromised or have an open wound.

This is scaremongering.


I've written about this topic before - every few months a story comes out about grocery bags or apple stores being host to countless "dangerous" dangerous microbes, ready to infect you and liquify your insides blah blah...

Everything's "contaminated." Period. Reading the comments of that story actually reaffirmed my faith in humanity though - many of the first ones were from people skeptical of the danger and a bit dismissive. Hopefully, editors will take the hint and this sort of crap will stop showing up in my google news alerts.