We all know that public transport isn’t the most hygienic of places – with so many people passing through buses, taxis and trains each day, it’s the perfect breeding ground for nasty germs and bacteria.
This has been proven – rather disturbingly, we might add – by a new study into bacteria levels on public transport in London.
According to the study – commissioned by a taxi company, and carried out by London Metropolitan University – a staggering NINE superbugs have been identified on London’s transport system.
As part of the research, a total of 80 swab tests were carried out on buses, taxis and trains around the city. The research team tested everything from hand rails to seats and doors.
The results are enough to leave us reaching for the hand sanitiser, stat! Overall, 121 types of bacteria and mould were identified across all tested modes of transport. Nine of these turned out to be antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Among the bacteria found were E.coli, staphylococcus (linked to pneumonia and Toxic Shock Syndrome), salmonella and even traces of faeces. Other types of bacteria discovered are known to cause blood and urine infections.
Surprisingly, the buses were found to have the least amount of bacteria, but it wasn’t all positive news – according to this particular study, they carry the most amount of mould.
The London Underground, meanwhile, was found to be the dirtiest mode of transport, in terms of dangerous bacteria. The Victoria Line, in particular, was found to be the worst offender for the aforementioned nasties.
While these alarming findings were made in the UK, we can’t help but wonder what kind of bacteria is floating around our own public transport systems. We bet a similar study would produce equally frightening results!
Commenting on the findings, Dr Paul Matawele of London Metropolitan University, explained: “Not only did we find some of the world’s most dangerous superbugs, but other forms of mould and bacteria that can be harmful to human health were discovered.
“Bacteria from rodents like rats and mice were also found upon Tube lines, along with traces of faecal bacteria and bacteria from sewage. These can cause water infections or skin infections like abscesses if you come into contact with them.”
Never before have we so desired a portable sink! While, sadly, that dream is not about to become a reality, what can we do? Well, hand sanitiser is about to become your best friend!
And if you’re travelling with children, try your best to be vigilant and ensure they don’t touch their faces or lick their fingers – or worse, the walls! – before washing their hands.