Staphylococcus found on surfaces across London

Frequently touched surfaces in city are teeming with drug-resistant bacteria

Aug 02, 2019
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Elevator buttons, ATMs and bathroom door handles in England are, perhaps unsurprisingly, covered with bacteria. A team of English scientists and their collaborators discovered that these frequently touched surfaces are home to millions of microbes—many of which, including staphylococcus, or staph, are drug-resistant.

The team collected 600 samples from locations throughout East and West London and found 11 species of staph. While almost half of the samples collected contained microbes that were resistant to two or more common antibiotics, researchers say that other antibiotics could be used to stem infection caused by the bacteria.

Having this information in hand can inform doctors which treatments to use and help the general public use better health practices. “So long as you wash you wash your hands after going out into public areas, it should be fine,” Richard Stabler, co-director of the Antimicrobial Resistance Center at the London School of Hygiene & Topical Medicine, who was not involved with the story, tells Scientific American.

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