Assessment of bacterial contamination of paper currency notes in Bangladesh

Author(s): Muhammad Ali Akond, Saidul Alam, Fatema Tuz Zohora, Mahmuda Mutahara, Rashed Noor, Momena Shirin

Handling of paper currency notes might be a regular means of exposure to microbiological contamination. To assess the extent of bacterial contamination of Bangladeshi paper currency notes (known as Taka) in circulation, a total of 540 notes of three denominations (2, 10 and 100) were collected from different occupational groups and were subjected to bacteriological analysis. Among the notes examined, 506 (93.70%) were found to be contaminated with 5 different bacterial isolates. The load of Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus spp. ranged between 0 to 2.49×108 cfu/cm2, 0 to 1.50×108 cfu/ cm2, 7.7×107 to 1.59×109 cfu/cm2, 4.5×107 to 8.24 ×108 cfu/cm2and 3.6×107 to 1.32 ×107 cfu/cm2, respectively.Furthermore, 200 bacterial isolateswere tested for their resistance against 10 commonly used antibiotics and 20-86% Salmonella, 8-96% Vibrio, 16-82% Pseudomonas and 18-82% Staphylococcus isolates were found to be resistant against at least one of the antibiotics tested. Thus, the present study revealed that most of the currency notes were contaminated with a huge range of bacteria including the antibiotic-resistant ones which might pose a severe public health risk.

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