Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/health/15real.html seems to indicate for a surface, to serve as a medium, the following properties are relevant

  • animation
  • humidity
  • temperature

The article however does not elaborate on the properties a surface must possess to serve as a medium - albeit i would figure it may vary from one virus/bacterium to another.

The same article also states

... when objects in a hotel room — light switches, telephones — were contaminated 
with a  cold virus, 60 percent of healthy volunteers picked up the virus when they 
touched one of the objects an hour later. Eighteen hours later, the transmission rate 
was cut in half.

When currency changes hands we rarely ever know whether it may , within a reasonable timespan, have passed through an agent/carrier.

Sir Dumpty loves to sneak off with a currency note to get me to chase him. He is protected; another member of his species may not be so protected. For that matter a person infected with, say, the common cold virus may have passed a note/coin/card to the vendor at the store within a minute of sneezing/coughing into his/her hand. What if the same person , instead, suffered from TB?

So ... can currency serve as a medium for transmission of pathogens?

share|improve this question
    
It's going to vary wildly, for example Hepatitis B can survive 7 days outside of a host. Furthermore, some bacteria such as Bacillus antracis can produce endospores and survive for years. –  GWW Dec 19 '12 at 3:21
1  
its always a good idea to wash your hands when you handle money. –  shigeta Dec 19 '12 at 18:02
    
TB is perhaps a poor example as it is actually quite difficult to contract without spending extended time with someone actively infected. –  Rory M Dec 19 '12 at 19:15

1 Answer 1

TB is an extremely poor example, because as has been mentioned, it usually requires prolonged contact.

But lets go with something with a low required infectious dose, that's friendly to surface contamination, and persists in the environment: Norovirus.

Can norovirus serve as a medium for pathogens? Absolutely. To be blunt, almost anything will serve as a medium for the right pathogen with some level of efficacy. This is a presentation from the New York Federal Reserve on what contaminates money, but given the outlandish things that can be contaminated with infectious material, there's no reason to suspect money isn't among them.

Wash your hands.

share|improve this answer
    
The same may be said for any of the pathogenic E. coli which can persist on surfaces (including plastic) for a day or two. –  leonardo Dec 20 '12 at 5:53

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.