Should We Leave The Paper Currency? A Microbiological Examination

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Sociedad Española de Quimioterapia

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Objective: Pathogens can be transmitted to banknotes due to the personal unhygienic habits. The aim of study was to find the possible pathogens on the banknotes circulating in the market and also to present their antibacterial resistance and their various virulence factors using genotypic and phenotypic methods. Methods: A total of 150 samples of bank-notes were randomly collected between August 2017 and March 2018. VITEK systems were used for identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing respectively. Antimicrobial resistance genes (mecA, van, extended-spectrum ?-lactamase [ESBL] and carbapenemases) and staphyloccoccal virulence genes (staphyloccoccal enterotoxins [SEs], pvl, and tsst-1) were determined using with real-time PCR. Results: Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), Enterococcus spp., Gram-negative enteric bacteria, non-fermentative Gram-negative bacteria and Candida spp. were detected 48%, 54.7%, 56%, 21.3%, 18.7%, and 4%, respectively. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and ESBL producing Gram-negative were found 46.8%, 1.3%, and 28.7%, respectively. Pvl, tsst-1, and SEs genes were found in a 2.8/4.9%, 1.4/1.2%, and 100/ 87.8% of the S. aureus/CoNS strains, respectively. The sea gene was found the most common enterotoxigenic gene. blaTEM, blaSHV, blaCTX-M-2, blaCTX-M-1, blaKPC, and blaOXA-48 were found 55.8%, 46.5%, 41.2%, 18.6%, 18.6%, and 18.6%, respectively in Gram-negative strains. Conclusions: These results is very important to highlight hygienic status of paper currencies. This can be considered as an indication that banknotes may contribute to the spread of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, we may need to start using alternative products instead of banknotes.


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Anahtar Kelimeler

Paper currency, Bacterial contamination, Antimicrobial resistance genes, Staphyloccoccal enterotoxins


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Rev Esp Quimioter . 2020 Apr;33(2):94-102