Home Health Dirty Contaminated money: Diseases spread through money (Currency notes)

Dirty Contaminated money: Diseases spread through money (Currency notes)

Right from cashier to beggar everyone carries currency notes due to this money is one of the primary sources for germ transfer and contagious diseases.


Do you know Currency notes are one of the dirtiest items that are dirtier than toilets we use daily? Do you know the dreadful diseases that are spread through currency notes? Do you know how many people wrong handled your money previously? What if they are suffering from the flu or some other communicable disease?

Paper currency notes are a good home for dangerous bacteria that’s why it is called dirty and contaminated money.

Contagious or communicable diseases are transmitted from one person to another person through various materials like napkins, keys, soaps, currency notes, etc. These types of infectious materials transfer dangerous bacteria from one person to another person which leads to severe health hazards.

Right from cashier to beggar everyone carries currency notes due to this money is one of the primary sources for germ transfer and contagious diseases.

Research findings: Diseases spread through money

A research from the Health Commissioner of New York on few currency notes found that one currency note has 135,000 germs while other have 126,000 germs.

Bosch & Steyn research showed that 90% of south-African bank notes circulated during 1997 were contaminated with either bacteria or fungi

Research at the Regional Sophisticated Instrumentation Center (RSIC), India, examined Indian currency notes and found germs which can cause Tuberculosis, Meningitis, tonsillitis, peptic ulcers, throat infections, genital tract infections, etc. The bacteria from currency notes infect the body through scratches on the hands or when the hand touches the mouth, eyes or nose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA estimates that 36,000 Americans die each year from flu-related causes. Among them, 10% of people received the flu from paper currency.

A research study on 5,000 banknotes in London in 2000 proved that 99% of the tested currency notes had traces of cocaine on them. It was estimated that 200,000 hepatitis C cases record every year in the UK among that at least 5000 hepatitis C cases were caused because of currency notes.

A research study on USA Currency notes by Forensic Science International reported that 92% of the notes have traces of cocaine which are the source of hepatitis C

The below is the research findings from International Journal of dental clinic on currency notes.

Researchers collected 25 currency notes of denominations 5 notes each Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100, etc. from various sources like daily vegetable markets, residential homes, milk parlours, beggars, banks, pan shops, petrol bunks, shoemakers etc. The study results found that 100% of these notes were contaminated with various health hazard microorganisms like Escherichia coli, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella enteritidis and Proteus, etc.

Dirty Contaminated money. Diseases spread through money, Currency notes

Why and how these kinds of microorganisms appear on currency?

  1. Poor handling: Contamination from the anal region, nasal secretions, sneezing & coughing are primary sources of transfer of bacteria to currency notes during handling.
  2. Application of saliva on fingers while counting money etc.
  3. Bacteria transfers through open wounds or scratches on the hands when currency note touches it.
  4. Currency notes are often kept warm by our body heat and even absorb our body moisture, helping bacteria to grow faster.

Let us have a look at the serious health problems that may cause with the dangerous bacteria that are spread on currency notes

Escherichia coli (E.coli) infection: Some harmful E.coli bacteria cause bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea vomiting, anaemia, urine infections and kidney failure.

Staphylococcus Aureus: It is commonly found in the skin and nose. This bacteria causes minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo, boils (furuncles), scalded skin syndrome, abscesses, etc.  to life-threatening dreadful diseases. These bacteria can cause severe illness if it enters into the body. It can infect brain, lungs, bone marrow, vein and heart values

  • These bacteria can cause following diseases
    • Meningitis(infection appears on the membrane lining of the brain)
    • Osteomyelitis(disease to the bone marrow)
    • Pneumonia (Lungs infection)
    • Septic arthritis(infection of joints)
    • Endocarditis(infection of the heart valves)
    • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS)

Salmonella Enteritidis: It causes Salmonellosis. The symptoms of the disease are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, vomiting, etc.

Streptococcus: It causes some mild infections like throat and skin infections

Proteus: It causes urinary tract infections, inflammation of kidney and an injury to living tissue.

How to protect ourselves from contaminated money?

Washing hands frequently help us in preventing these bacteria enter into our body.


  • Issue: Vol 2, No 3 (2010): International Journal of Dental Clinics 2.3, Title: An Assessment of Oral Health Risk Associated with Handling of Currency Notes: http://intjdc.org/index.php/intjdc/article/view/2.3.2
  • http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Staphylococcus_aureus_golden_staph
  • http://cocaine.org/cokemoney/banknotes.html
  • http://cocaine.org/cokemoney/index.html

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