Is your purse a hotbed of bacterial infection? – Health News – NHS Choices

Many of the bacteria found in the study can cause serious infections

This is a report about an interesting study but ultimately it may not have a strong relevance or applicability in most situations. The research was conducted in Mauritius and they swabbed the outside of 145 womens’ handbags and mens’ wallets. The primary finding was that 95% carried bacteria. However as they point out themselves;

From their website;

In about three-quarters (73%) this was scanty growth; 13% showed moderate growth and 14% showed heavy growth. … and … In fact, all of the things we use in the environment around us, like mobile phones, computers, keyboards and other equipment are all likely to carry some bacteria.

Otherwise there were interesting if unsurprising secondary findings;

From their website;

  • 11% often placed them on kitchen tables

  • 18% placed them on dining tables

  • 18% allowed their children to handle them

  • 82% never emptied them

  • Most women kept purses in handbags, most men in trouser pockets


In conclusion it might be fair to say that in day-to-day life this study does not have a notable impact. However in settings where individuals are particularly susceptible to infections then this study does back up and re-inforce the current practice of making every effort to reduce their exposure to risk.

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