Mercy Primary Care Physician Dr. Marc Leavey Discusses Where Germs Abide

July 29, 2014
Primary Care Physicians - Mercy Medical Center

Tests of items ranging from the bottoms of ladies’ purses to an ATM keypad have found an abundance of germs, ranging from pseudomonas, staphylococcus aurous, salmonella, e-coli, even bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause symptoms akin to food poisoning. All worse than can be found on your “typical toilet seat.”

Mercy primary care physician Dr. Marc Leavey of Lutherville Personal Physicians, and an active medical/health blogger, offers these insights…

The toilet seat touches a fairly clean rump, but the water is where the poop goes, and when you flush it, that can trigger a spray that can deposit bacteria laden droplets on the counter, which you likely wash, and your toothbrush, which you may not.  The bathroom floor itself, often the site of misdirected material, can harbor more bacteria than the seat, as well.

Leaving the bathroom, that remote control or keyboard can hide bacteria rich material in their keys and opening.  It is said that the remote in most hotel rooms should be considered grossly contaminated.  Even restaurant menus harbor the bacteria from the hands of the many who handle them.

The common denominator of those items is the human hand, which is often dirtied and rarely washed in some circles.  So whatever the hand touches, doorknobs, light switches, money, you get the picture, can become a vector to spread those handy pathogens.

If you've watched a popular television restaurant makeover show, you know that ice makers often seed the ice they make with bacteria, fresh frozen for your convenience, and ready to germinate in your beverage.

Back in your house, though, the shower head, with its warm water and surface never cleaned, dish rag or kitchen sponge, the items dirtier than that toilet seat are all around you.  Better go back in the bathroom and have a seat!

–Dr. Marc Leavey, Lutherville Personal Physicians, Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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