What have ice cubes, sesame seeds and festival wrist bands got in common?

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What have ice cubes, sesame seeds and festival wrist bands got in common?

These are all items that have all tested positive for the presence of E.coli bacteria which indicates faecal contamination reports Public Health England (PHE).

That is why it is issuing a reminder to everyone on Global Handwashing Day (15 October) of the importance of washing their hands particularly after going to the toilet.

The presence of E.coli bacteria on any surface is a sign of faecal contamination and any gastrointestinal infection caused by E.coli is a result of ingesting faecal bacteria from a human being or an animal.

Infections caused by this bacteria can be very serious with symptoms ranging from mild gastroenteritis to severe bloody diarrhoea.

Washing the hands regularly using soap and water can minimise the risk of spreading harmful bacteria to other people as well as reducing the individual risk of becoming unwell, as the likelihood of ingesting harmful bacteria is reduced.

Previous studies have shown faecal contamination on a wide variety of surfaces including:

Bank notes

Shopping bags


Computer keyboards

Kitchen Taps

Mobile phones

Sesame seeds

Wrist bands

Cleaning cloths

Ice cubes

Bar snacks

Preparation surfaces in mobile kitchens

Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at PHE, said No-one would wilfully want to touch or eat faeces but that is what millions of us are doing every day by not washing our hands. Many diseases are spread through faecal matter so if we all improved our hygiene this could prevent many infections and stop people becoming unwell.

Today, on Global Handwashing Day we need to remind ourselves that we all need to wash our hands thoroughly using soap and water and then dry them. This is particularly important before preparing food and eating and especially after going to the toilet or changing a nappy as you have double the amount of bugs on your hands after using the loo.

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