Well, this week the target of the “how many microbes are there on ….?” question from the press is your computer and it’s mice: How Your Office Computer Mouse Carries Three Times More Germs Than A Toilet Seat | Leadership Newspapers.
The obsession in the press with “how many microbes can you find on something” continues unabated I guess. Here is a prediction – if you compare two places to each other – most of the time one of them will have a higher count of microbial cells than the other. Seriously.
And here is another prediction – if you send someone out to swab various parts of a house or an office or a restaurant – most of the time you will be able to find places where there are more microbes than in the bathroom. Seriously.
Let me ask a hypothetical question. If someone offered you two bowls of cereal. In one, they add yoghurt with trillions of cells of bacteria. In the other they add milk with 10,000 cells of E. coli O157:H7. Which would you eat? Scared of those trillions of bacteria in the yoghurt? We need to just put an end to this “let’s count how many bacteria are in different places” and start asking “what kind of (and how many) bacteria (and/or other microbes) are in different places?”