If you’ve ever done banking at an ATM (sooooo, pretty much all of you), you’re not gonna like what we’re about to tell you — particularly if you live in the Big Apple.
Every day, thousands of people use the handy dandy little machine to do their daily banking transactions, and with every person that touches the keypad comes exposure to, well, germs. Shocker, right? But that’s not all.
In a new study published in the microbiology journal mSphere earlier this month, scientists have discovered that there’s another little cootie hiding on those digitized pads, and guys? They’re microbes associated with STDs (which are on the rise, as a whole, and becoming increasingly more difficult to treat).
In a 2014 swab sampling from 66 ATMs across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, researchers found that, in addition to fungus (the largest chunk of microbes in the sampling), there were also plenty of other unpleasant little creatures living in their samples. While some were products of the environment in which the ATMs were found (like the lactic acid bacteria found in ATMs near laundromats), others were human-related, and some were just downright gross. For starters? There was salmonella (yummy!), a separate parasite that can live happily feasting in your gut, and another one that is “closely related” to trichomonas vaginalis — the germ responsible for the Trich STD, which can cause itching and inflammation, as well as increase your risk of HIV, cause premature births and low-weight pregnancies. Lovely.
Considering that this particular STD can actually live outside the body on inanimate objects (such as, oh, say, ATMs) for a time after exposure, we’re feeling mighttttttttyyy uncomfortable right about now.
While it’s probably unlikely that you’ll contract an STD from a bank machine even if you’re exposed to the microbes that cause it, it looks like we’ll be standing in line for a teller or breaking out that piggy bank from here on out — not even that DNA sanitizing spray can get us off this horror train!
Are you shocked by this study’s findings? Voice your concerns over @BritandCo.
(h/t Elite Daily, photos via James Hardy/Getty)