Send to

Choose Destination
Future Microbiol. 2014;9(2):249-61. doi: 10.2217/fmb.13.161.

Paper money and coins as potential vectors of transmissible disease.

Author information

URMITE CNRS-IRD 198 UMR 6236, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille, France.


Paper currency and coins may be a public health risk when associated with the simultaneous handling of food and could lead to the spread of nosocomial infections. Banknotes recovered from hospitals may be highly contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus. Salmonella species, Escherichia coli and S. aureus are commonly isolated from banknotes from food outlets. Laboratory simulations revealed that methicillin-resistant S. aureus can easily survive on coins, whereas E. coli, Salmonella species and viruses, including human influenza virus, Norovirus, Rhinovirus, hepatitis A virus, and Rotavirus, can be transmitted through hand contact. Large-scale, 16S rRNA, metagenomic studies and culturomics have the capacity to dramatically expand the known diversity of bacteria and viruses on money and fomites. This review summarizes the latest research on the potential of paper currency and coins to serve as sources of pathogenic agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center