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From The Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct. 10, 2017)

By Mari A. Schaefer – Staff Writer

Next time you want to check your cellphone on the way to the bathroom sink after using the toilet, fight the urge.

You could make yourself sick, warns a microbiologist at London Metropolitan University.

“Toilet seats, handles, sinks, and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff.,which can result in diarrhea, and acinetobacter, which can cause a contagious respiratory infection,” Paul Matewele recently told the London newspaper the Sun.

Those germs could be transferred to the phone, which then might wind up on your table when you eat out.

There’s more.

A small study in the journal Germ looked at the mobile phones of 27 high school students. They found traces of E. coli and even greater amounts of “potentially pathogenic microbes” such as Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus cereus and Neisseria flavescens.

The good news was that no antibiotic-resistant genes were detected on cellphone surfaces, according to the Germ study.

This news bears a resemblance to studies that found kitchen sponges are also teeming with nasty bacteria.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Handbags, wallets, purses and tote bags often test positively for whole communities of germs, including norovirus, MRSA and E. coli,” said Matewele. He suggests taking a vacuum and wipes to those items once a week and keeping them off eating surfaces. mschaefer@phillynews.com                                                        

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