Special Report: Results on Everyday Items Tested for Bacteria

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- NewsWest 9 puts everyday items like the cash in your wallet or your dog's leash to the test. A team at Medical Center Hospital showed a Newswest 9 team what to do and our team started swabbing items at a park playground, at the dog park and in our Newswest 9 Newsroom.

"We know that money changes hands over and over," Rebecca Johnson, R.N., Coordinator of Infectious Control at Medical Center Hospital, said.

The lab tests showed the keyboard had bacillus species and coagulase-negative staphylococcus species. The lab technicians also found dust and soil bacteria on the soda lid from the convenience store and a five dollar bill. The leash came back positive for bacillus and so did the shopping cart.

"We found exactly what we expect to find there," Johnson said. "You handle fresh fruits and vegetables that need to be washed because they have soil on them and bacteria."

Johnson says the bacteria can cause an infection in a person with a compromised immune system who also has an open wound. Johnson advises people to wash their hands, especially, before eating and preparing meals.

"Your intact skin is your best friend. It keeps the bugs out," Johnson said.

The Medical Center Hospital lab did not test for viruses.

"In our environment, there are some normal bacteria and we live with them happily." Johnson said healthy people don't need to worry too much about normal bacteria, "The important thing is that after you touch something that has bacteria on it, which is everything in the world, don't touch your T-zone (eyes, nose, mouth)."

The dirtiest item turned out to be a four way tie between the trash dumpster, the NewsWest 9 keyboard, playground equipment, and the water dispenser.

"You also found gram negative staphloccocus." Johnson said along with the keyboard, the playground equipment, the water dispenser, and the trash Dumpster all had some sort of skin flora, and that's very normal skin bacteria.