Feature

Health scare of the week

Getting sick from dirty money: If you want to avoid the flu, use a debit card instead of handling cash, says Agence France-Presse. Flu viruses, a Swiss study has found, can survive on bank notes for up to two weeks, especially if they’re coated in the bod

Getting sick from dirty money

If you want to avoid the flu, use a debit card instead of handling cash, says Agence France-Presse. Flu viruses, a Swiss study has found, can survive on bank notes for up to two weeks, especially if they’re coated in the bodily fluids of the person who pocketed them before you. Researchers at Geneva’s University Hospital deposited virus particles on paper bank notes, then left them to sit at room temperature. Most viruses survived for only a few hours, but those that had been mixed with human mucus remained viable for two and a half weeks—long enough to pass through many hands. Paper money might be a significant factor in the spread of germs, says study author Yves Thomas. It “should not be overlooked in pandemic planning.”

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