Remember when we were in the darkest days of the pandemic and you used to scrub your hands clean after heading to the supermarket? Yeah... you might want to start doing that again.
Supermarket self-service checkouts are riddled with bacteria found in human faeces, according to new analysis.
Scientists at the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON), which is led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), swabbed everyday items for signs of concerning bacteria.
They tested handrails, public toilet door handles, office computer keyboards, pets and pet toys and found checkouts were among the most grim.
The results indicated a whole host nastiness evident on almost every surface of the self-payment stations, including E.coli – which can causes vomiting – as well as human poo particles.
Even Dr Adam Roberts, the chief researcher who produced the analysis, was surprised by the extent of the icky results.
“The self-checkout samples had one of the highest bacterial loads, as we found five different types of potential disease-causing bacteria surviving on them,” he said, according to the Independent.
“This included Enterococcus which is found in human faeces and, while this is usually harmless, it can of course lead to disease, particularly in those who may have weakened immune systems.”
Matt Ashton, director of public health for Liverpool, is now urging those with vulnerable loved ones to take extra care with hand washing after Christmas shopping.
“Our results showed that there are multiple bacteria living on objects that we touch every single day. These bacteria are completely invisible to the naked eye – surfaces may look clean but can be covered in bacteria,” he said.
“Hospital admissions for illnesses like Norovirus and flu always spike at this time of year, but we can take steps to reduce how quickly germs transfer from one person to another, by simply keeping our hands clean – washing them after going to the bathroom and before and after we eat.”