ZOMG!! BACTERIUMS ARE EVERYWHEREZ!

Microbiologist David Coil lists the flaws of the BACTERIA ARE FOUND ON X!! stories (boldface mine):

First, bacteria are everywhere. It’s no shocker that anyone with a Q-tip and a Petri dish can find them on your cellphone. Sure, cellphones are covered in bacteria … because every inch of our bodies is also covered in bacteria. Especially our hands.

Second, most of these stories focus on “dangerous” bacteria without actually measuring any such thing. For example, most E.coli are perfectly fine. In fact, some are essential to have a healthy digestive tract. True, some strains (such as O157:H7) are bad news. But simply saying “E.coli” doesn’t provide very useful information. It’s akin to describing a burglar as “human.”

Third, even if there are genuine pathogens (which by the way represent only a tiny, tiny fraction of bacteria in the world) on some of these household items, that doesn’t equate to an actual health risk.

On this topic, this is the blog’s stock response:

To put it very crudely, when you wipe your ass, do you glove up or wear a biohazard suit? No. Just wash your hands? (Good).

How’s that working for you?

Not dead yet? (Glad to hear it).

Probably not as many readers with that approach though.

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1 Response to ZOMG!! BACTERIUMS ARE EVERYWHEREZ!

  1. Jim Thomerson says:

    Many years ago, a student in an introductory biology course answered a question about bacteria thusly, “Bacteria is very small. Bacteria is all around us. Bacteria lays 20,000 eggs a day.” There have been several discussions as to how much credit the student should have received for this answer. What grade would you suggest?

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