Popular machine carries shocking amount of bacteria

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By Sean Dowling, Buzz60

Grab the hand sanitizer now!

The next time you try and withdraw money at an ATM in New York City you may be picking up a lot more than cold hard cash.

New research shows automatic teller machine keypads in the Big Apple are covered in bacteria with everything from rotten food, fungi and a species closely related to a human parasite than causes the STD trichomoniasis.

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FILE - This Wednesday, April 29, 2009, file photo, shows hand sanitizer on a shelf at a pharmacy in Plano, Texas. Federal health officials want to know whether hand sanitizers used by millions of Americans are as effective at fighting germs as manufacturers claim, and whether there are any health risks to their use. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, File)
This Tuesday, April 30, 2013, photo, shows Dawn Ultra antibacterial soap in a kitchen Tuesday in Chicago. Federal health regulators are deciding whether triclosan, the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S. is harmful. The ruling, which will determine whether triclosan continues to be used in household cleaners, could have broader implications for a $1 billion industry that includes hundreds of anti-bacterial products from toothpaste to toys (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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Researchers from New York University were hoping to identify regional microbial signatures throughout the city, so they took swabs from the keypads of 66 ATM machines in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, from several different neighborhoods.

Not only were there no significant differences between the indoor and outdoor machines, researchers found no particular microbe clustering by geography.

The most abundant bacteria on the keypads were normal human skin microbes; the same kind you'd find on household surfaces.

Researchers also found bacteria from bony fish and chicken; meaning bacteria from the meal someone just prepped can end up on the ATM keypads.

Also, keypads in laundromats and stores had the highest number of bacteria.

With more funding, researchers plan to study microbes in the city's rats, pigeons and cockroaches.

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