Currency is Major Carrier of Contaminated Diseases, Report says


Everyone carries contaminated money- It may sound scary but biologically it’s true which has been reiterated by various study reports which reveal that currency notes are one of the strong carriers of contaminated diseases.

Being concerned with such a serious health hazard, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) today sent a communication to Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley urging him to conduct a larger investigation to assess the possibilities of diseases getting spread by currency notes and taking preventive steps to protect people from the contamination of currency notes. The CAIT has sent copy of the communication to Union Health Minister Mr. J.P. Nadda and Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harshvardhan for taking immediate cognisance of the gravity of the issue.

While citing various media reports as a source of its information, the CAIT in its communication to Mr. Jaitley stated that the said media reports have referred various studies including one conducted by Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB)- one of the top ranking Institute under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)  which found traces of DNA footprints of at least 78 disease-causing micro-organisms on these notes, though not all of them on a single one. Most of them were fungi, but there were also bacteria that can cause dysentery, tuberculosis and ulcers.the study implies is that currency notes often act as carriers of these micro-organisms and can spread microbial diseases. The study further says that the microbes do actually travel through currency notes.

Similarly, A report published in the Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2016, for example, says that 86.4 per cent of the 120 currency notes tested at the department of microbiology, Tirunelveli Medical College, Tamil Nadu, were contaminated with disease-causing pathogens such as Klebsiella Pneumoniae, E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus. The currency notes were collected from a variety of sources including doctors, banks, local markets, butchers, students and housewives. Interestingly, the notes collected from doctors were also infected. The presence of a cocktail of disease-causing, drug-resistant pathogens on currency notes and warned of their potential to transmit a number of diseases in the community, including urinary and respiratory tract infections, septicemia, skin infections, recurrent meningitis, toxic shock syndrome and a variety of gastrointestinal diseases.

CAIT National President Mr. B. C. Bhartia & Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal while commenting upon the report said that it is regretted to note that the scientific journals have been publishing these alarming facts almost every year, but sadly no cognizance has been taken of this serious public health issue.

Both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that the trading community across the Country is the largest user of currency notes and if the reports are valid, the said currency notes are vulnerable to the health of not only the traders but even the consumers as well. As per reports, paper money can harbor thousands of microbes from every environment it touches—whether that’s someone’s fingers, a waiter’s apron, a vending machine or the dank area under someone’s mattress. In India, we have habits of licking currency notes while counting which can be more hazardous. They further said that besides Govt, the Medical Council of India and Indian Medical Association should come forward to make an immediate investigation.

Not everyone put money in the wallet, some people put it in their pockets with other contaminated items and some even take cash out straight from their inner wears. Since cash changes hands very frequently, no one can know whether the source of getting money was hygienic. This is a major health threat and immediate action on the part of the Government and other concerned Authorities should be taken without any further delay.

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