Well, that is nice to know! Should I hand it a tissue?
A new report in Smart Money contends that a virus can live on most forms of curency for about an hour, perhaps two. But throw in some “nasal secreations” and the unexpected happens: the flu can live for days….. a strain known as H3N2 lasted for up to 17 days! A H1N1 strain (but not the Swine Flu) lasted for ten days!
Oh, boy. Repeat after me: Handle money, wash hands. Handle money, wash hands. When I worked at the museum, we had hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes in the desk below the cash registers, and if a customer seemed to be ill, we offered them. And we wiped down the desk and the register (and ourselves, if need be). But no one ever considered wiping the money or the cash drawer.
Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Indiana are tracking the flu and using the data to project future cases. Air traffic and commuter patterns figure into both sets of data, but Northwestern is also including data from a fun little website that you may have visited: Where’s George?
Where’s George? allows you in input the serial number of US paper currency and then “track” that bill as it moves around. (Of course, it all relies on recipients making a log entry on Where’s George?, so your dollar bill may disappear for a while.) To me and you, Where’s George? is an interesting way to spend a few moments. To the researchers, it is a database of face-to-face encounters with over 100 million entries. Their results are online.