We examined used and new banknotes in various denominations, circulating in the Limpopo province of South Africa, for the presence of microorganisms using the rinse method. Used banknotes were collected from open-air markets, banks, filling-stations, supermarkets, residential homes and hostels. Bacteria and/or fungi were isolated from 96% of the used banknotes, and none from the new (control) notes. Twelve bacterial and one fungal species were isolated, with Staphylococcus epidermidis (13%), Candida albicans (13%), Klebsiella species (11%) and Staphylococcus aureus (11%) being the most prevalent. The low-denomination notes (R10 and R20) were the most contaminated. Infected currency is identified as a potential public health hazard, as pathogens can be spread by circulating banknotes. Immunocompromised persons stand the risk of acquiring opportunistic infections, such as C. albicans, through handling of contaminated currency.
|Number of pages||2|
|Journal||South African Journal of Science|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2007|