Microbiological analysis of banknotes circulating in the Venda region of Limpopo province, South Africa

E. O. Igumbor*, C. L. Obi, P. O. Bessong, N. Potgieter, T. C. Mkasi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-366
Number of pages2
JournalSouth African Journal of Science
Volume103
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

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