Types of Bacteria Found on Money

· May 15, 2015

In this next article, we will discuss different types of bacteria found on money, specifically on bills and coins. What you see will surprise you! 

Although credit and debit cards are becoming more and more used nowadays, most of us still come into contact with bills and coins on a day-to-day basis. Every day we touch a good amount of money that contains lots of bacteria. If we don’t take proper hygienic measures, this bacteria found on money can affect our health in a dangerous way.

The first obvious tip is to frequently wash your hands. With this simple step we can avoid many health problems. Touching a dollar bill can transfer bacteria to our hands, which can get into our bodies if we touch our mouth or eyes.

According to studies done in the U.S. and Colombia, it has been shown that paper money contains high amounts of bacteria which can cause infections, and also contain microorganisms with the ability to provoke diseases that the body’s immune system may not be able to fight off. The study also found that like bills, coins also carried up to seven different types of bacteria.

Staphylococcus Epidermitis

This bacteria causes infections in various parts of the body; some of its symptoms are: fever, fatigue, acute pain, rapid breathing and heart rate, and excessive sweating, among others.


Some species of bacillus do not present symptoms, however some exist which produce pathogens in both people and animals alike. The different strains of this bacteria can cause vomiting and diarrhea withing 5-10 hours of coming into contact with a host.


Streptococcus is responsible for a lot of serious illnesses, among those being meningitis, bacterial pneumonia, and pharyngitis, among many others. However, there are certain species of this bacteria that are not pathogens.


The symptoms that are caused by this contagious bacteria can be severe stomach pain, accompanied with diarrhea (which on many occasions could contain blood), it can also cause vomiting, nausea and a low-grade fever. Symptoms present 3-4 days after infection.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!!

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Many of these bacteria can be found within the environment, that’s why it’s so easy to contract them. These microorganisms can come in contact with our bodies easily, and can cause illness if we do not take precautions and wash our hands before eating. Remember that, even though many bacteria that we are exposed to can cause just simple illnesses, there are worse cases that can result in gastroenteritis, or in more extreme cases, death.

It’s impossible to avoid touching money and the bacteria they contain, but we can take precautions and wash our hands well after handling money, before eating, or before touching other parts of our body, and before holding babies. These simple practices can help avoid health problems.


Coins can contain up to 2,400 bacteria, some of those similar to that found on bills; however, microorganisms that are accumulated on bills grow as they are passed from hand to hand. The microbes that one sick person has can get passed to everyone that touches the contagious bill.

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Don’t forget that bills and coins are the best way to transfer bacteria between people worldwide; that’s why it’s recommended to not allow children to handle bills, much less coins. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and any other parts of your body if you can help it after touching money. Also ensure you have clean hands all the time!