Dirty Money on Holy Ground: Isolation of Potentially Pathogen-ic Bacteria and Fungi on Money Collected from Church Offerings

  • Akebe Luther King ABIA Antimicrobial Research Unit, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa
  • Eunice UBOMBA-JASWA Department of Biotechnology, University of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa AND Water Research Commission, Pretoria, South Africa
Keywords: Money, Disease transmission, Church, Microbial contamination, Public health

Abstract

Background: Fomites (including money) can transmit diseases to humans. How the nature of money influences contamination has not been adequately demonstrated. Moreover, such studies in church settings are non-existent. Thus, we studied how money collected from a church could serve as human disease transmission vehicles. Methods: Overall, 284 money samples (currency notes and coins) were collected during two Sundays in the months of Nov and Dec 2015 from a church congregation in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. The presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi were investigated using culture (Colilert® method) and molecular methods (Sanger sequencing). Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was used to visualize the possible positions of the bacteria on various parts of a currency note. Results: Of the 192 samples (first sampling round), 76 (39.6%) were positive for E. coli. Smaller notes (R10) recorded the highest E. coli counts per note. Of the 92 notes analyzed for potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi (second sampling round), 76 (82%) showed growth on at least one of the six culture media used. Sequencing revealed three bacterial (Bacillus, Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium) and two fungal (Clavispora and Rhodotorula) genera. SEM revealed that microorganisms could enter cracks of creased notes. Conclusion: Unlike previous studies conducted where recent contamination could occur, the current study shows that microorganisms can survive on money; samples were collected from a church, where little or no exchange takes place. Moreover, using SEM demonstrates that aged and creased notes favor attachment of bacteria to money and could be of public health concern by transmitting disease within a given population.      

References

1. Lopez GU, Gerba CP, Tamimi AH, Kitaji-ma M, Maxwell SL, Rose JB (2013). Transfer efficiency of bacteria and viruses from porous and nonporous fomites to fingers under different relative humidity conditions. Appl Environ Microbiol, 79 (18): 5728-34.
2. Winfield MD, Groisman EA (2003). Role of nonhost environments in the lifestyles of Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol, 69 (7): 3687-94.
3. Grice EA, Segre JA (2011). The skin micro-biome. Nat Rev Microbiol, 9 (4): 244-53.
4. Sharma S, Sumbali G (2014). Contaminated money in circulation: a review. Int J Recent Sci Res, 5 (9): 1533-40.
5. Alemu A (2014). Microbial contamination of currency notes and coins in circulation: a potential public health hazard. Biomed Bio-technol, 2 (3): 46-53.
6. Moosavy M, Shavisi N, Warriner K, Mosta-Favi E (2013). Bacterial contamination of Iranian paper currency. Iran J Public Health, 42 (9): 1067-70.
7. Vriesekoop F, Russell C, Alvarez-mayorga B, A, et al Dirty Money: an investigation into the hygiene status of some of the world’s currencies as obtained from food outlets. Foodborne Pathog Dis, 7 (12): 1497-502.
8. Lamichhane J, Adhikary S, Gautam P, Ma-harjan R, Dhakal B (2009). Risk of han-dling paper currency in circulation chanc-es of potential bacterial transmittance. Nepal J Sci Technol, 10: 161-6.
9. South African Reserve Bank (2016). History of South African coins. Available from: https://www.resbank.co.za/BanknotesandCoin/SouthAfricanCurrency/Coin/Pages/HistoryofSouthAfricancoin.aspx
10. Akoachere J-FT, Gaelle N, Dilonga H, Nkuo-Akenji TK (2014). Public health implications of contamination of Franc CFA (XAF) circulating in Buea (Came-roon) with drug resistant pathogens. BMC Res Notes, 7 (1): 16.
11. Barnes SL (2013). Black church giving: an analysis of ideological, programmatic, and denominational effects. SAGE Open, 3 (2). DOI: 10.1177/2158244013490706
12. IDEXX Laboratories Inc. (2013). Colilert Test Kit Product Insert/Most Probable Number MPN) Table. Westbrook, Maine, U.S.A.
13. IDEXX (2015). Colilert. Available from: https://www.idexx.com/en/resource-library/water/colilert-procedure-en.pdf/
14. Srinivasan R, Karaoz U, Volegova M, et al (2015). Use of 16S rRNA gene for identi-fication of a broad range of clinically rele-vant bacterial pathogens. PLoS One, 10 (2): 1-22.
15. White TJ, Bruns T, Lee S, Taylor J (1999). Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for hhylo-genetics. In: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Eds, Innis MA, Gelfand DH, Sninsky JJ, White TJ. New York: Academic Press, Inc. p. 315–22.
16. Altschul SF, Madden TL, Schäffer AA, et al (1999). Gapped BLAST and PS I-BLAST: a new generation of protein da-tabase search programs. Nucleic Acids Res, 25 (17): 3389-402.
17. Boone SA, Gerba CP (2007). Significance of fomites in the spread of respiratory and enteric viral disease. Appl Environ Microbiol, 73 (6): 1687-96.
18. El-Din El-Dars FM, Hassan WM (2005). A preliminary bacterial study of Egyptian paper money. Int J Environ Health Res, 15 (3): 235-9.
19. Prasai T, Yami KD, Joshi DR (2008). Mi-crobial load on paper / polymer currency and coins. Nepal J Sci Technol, 9: 105-9.
20. Singh S, Kumar S, Kumari P, Saxena S, Singh M, Tiwari M (2015). Indian curren-cy uncovered with microbes retrieved from expected and unexpected transac-tion points. Int J Med Public Health, 5 (3): 242-46.
21. Reserve bank of India (2016). Contempo-rary coins. Available from: https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/ic_coins_5.aspx#mainsection
22. Geng P, Zhang W, Tang H, et al (2007) Comparison of antibacterial ability of copper and stainless steel. Front Chem Chi-na, 2 (2): 209-12.
23. Grass G, Rensing C, Solioz M (2011). Me-tallic copper as an antimicrobial surface. Appl Environ Microbiol, 77 (5): 1541-7.
24. WHO (2008). WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality. 3rd edition. Volume 1 Recom-mendations. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press.
25. Logan NA (1988). Bacillus species of medi-cal and veterinary importance. J Med Mi-crobiol, 25: 157-65.
26. Ginsburg AS, Salazar LG, True LD, Disis ML (2003). Fatal Bacillus cereus sepsis fol-lowing resolving neutropenic enterocolitis during the treatment of acute leukemia. Am J Hematol, 72: 204-8.
27. Ozkocaman V, Ozcelik T, Ali R, et al (2006) Bacillus spp. among hospitalized patients with haematological malignancies: clinical features, epidemics and outcomes. J Hosp Infect, 64 (2): 169-76.
28. Soldera J, Luis WN, Cardoso PRC, D’Azevedo AP (2013). Bacteremia due to Staphylococcus cohnii ssp. urealyticus caused by infected pressure ulcer: case report and review of the literature. Sao Paulo Med J, 131 (1): 59-61.
29. Stefano M, Rosso A Del, Saldutto P, Gala-tioto GP, Vicentini C (2012). Intrascrotal abscess, Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylo-coccus cohnii spp. cohnii: a case report and review of the literature. Case Rep Urol, 313694.
30. Szewczyk EM, Nowak T, Cieslikowski T, Rozalska M (2003). Potential role of Staphylococcus cohnii in a hospital environ-ment. Microb Ecol Health Dis, 15: 51-6.
31. Galan-sanchez F, Aznar-marin P, Marin-casanova P, Garcia-martos P, Rodriguez-iglesias M (2011). Urethritis due to Coryne-bacterium glucuronolyticum. J Infect Chemother, 17: 720-1.
32. Renom F, Gomila M, Garau M, et al (2014). Respiratory infection by Corynebacterium striatum: epidemiological and clinical de-terminants. New Microbes New Infect, 2 (4): 106-14.
33. Wagner J, Ignatius R, Voss S, et al. (2001). Infection of the skin caused by Corynebac-terium ulcerans and mimicking classical cu-taneous Diphtheria. Clin Infect Dis, 33:1598-600.
34. Gherardi G, Di Bonaventura G, Pompilio A, Savini V (2015). Corynebacterium glucuro-nolyticum causing genitourinary tract infec-tion: Case report and review of the litera-ture. IDCases, 2 (2): 56-8.
35. Gomes DLR, Martins CAS, Faria LMD, et al (2009). Corynebacterium diphtheriae as an emerging pathogen in nephrostomy catheter-related infection: evaluation of traits associated with bacterial virulence. J Med Microbiol, 58 (11): 1419-27.
36. Krcmery Jr V, Mateicka F, Grausova S, Kunova A, Hanzen J (1999). Invasive in-fections due to Clavispora lusitaniae. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol, 23: 75-8.
37. Al-Obaid I, Khan ZU, Ahmad S, et al (2011). Persistent catheter-related Rhodotorula mucilaginosa fungemia in a leu-kemic child. J Mycol Med, 21 (2): 134-7.
38. Fung HB, Martyn CA, Shahidi A, Brown ST (2009). Rhodotorula mucilaginosa lymphadeni-tis in an HIV-infected patient. Int J Infect Dis, 13: 27-9.
39. Saha S, Sengupta J, Chatterjee D, Banerjee D (2014). Rhodotorula mucilaginosa Keratitis: a rare fungus from eastern India. Indian J Ophthamol, 62 (3): 341-4.
40. Goyal R, Das S, Arora A, Aggarwal A (2007). Rhodotorula mucilaginosa as a cause of persistent femoral nonunion. J Postgrad Med, 54 (1): 25-7.
41. Mackintosh CA, Hoffman PN (1984). An extended model for transfer of microor-ganisms via the hands: differences be-tween organisms and the effect of alco-hol disinfection. J Hyg, 92 (3): 345-55.
42. Miller LG, Eells SJ, David MZ, et al. (2015) Staphylococcus aureus skin infection recur-rences among household members: an examination of host, behavioral, and pathogen-level predictors. Clin Infect Dis, 60 (5): 753-63.
Published
2019-05-14
How to Cite
1.
ABIA ALK, UBOMBA-JASWA E. Dirty Money on Holy Ground: Isolation of Potentially Pathogen-ic Bacteria and Fungi on Money Collected from Church Offerings. Iran J Public Health. 48(5):849-857.
Section
Original Article(s)