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A Third Don’t Wash Hands After Toilet 2008-11-18

Posted by clype in Health, Statistics.
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People from the north of England were up to three times more likely to have hands contaminated with pooh than southerners a study has found.

The most likely explanation is that fewer northerners are washing their hands with soap after answering the call of nature, researchers said.

  • In total, almost 30 per cent of people tested were carrying ‘faecal’ bacteria.

People in Newcastle were up to three times more likely to have the bugs on their hands than those in London.

The proportion of people found to have contaminated hands was

  • 13 per cent in London;
  • 23 per cent in Cardiff;
  • 24 per cent in Birmingham;
  • 34 per cent in Liverpool; and
  • 44 per cent in Newcastle.

For just men:

  • 6 per cent in London;
  • 15 per cent in Cardiff;
  • 21 per cent in Birmingham;
  • 36 per cent in Liverpool; and
  • 53 per cent in Newcastle.

For just women:

  • 21 per cent in London;
  • 29 per cent in Cardiff;
  • 26 per cent in Birmingham;
  • 31 per cent in Liverpool; and
  • 30 per cent in Newcastle.

Women in London were around three times more likely than men to have faecal bacteria on their hands.

Ms.Val Curtis PhD, from ‘The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine‘ who led the study, said:

[Picture of Dr Val Curtis]
‘We were flabbergasted by the finding that so many people had faecal bugs on their hands.

The figures were far higher than we had anticipated, and suggest that there is a real problem with people washing their hands in the UK.

‘If any of these people had been suffering from diarrhoea disease, the potential for it to be passed around would be greatly increased by their failure to wash their hands after going to the toilet.’

Dr Curtis’s team took random swabs from the hands of 409 commuters waiting at bus stops near London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Cardiff Central, Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle Central stations on weekday mornings.

When they were analysed, 113 of the samples were found to contain bacteria from faeces.

Val Curtis BSc MSc PhD
Reader in Hygiene
Room 384, Keppel St, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Tel: 00 44 20 7927 2628
Fax: 00 44 20 7636 7843
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