Information – Is your office water bottle a health hazard? We swabbed ours to find out

Typical tabloid journalism but highlights the need for washing reusable items.

The Telegraph

any of us keep reusable bottles of water on our desks, yet almost none of us give a moment’s thought to the millions of bacteria, existing across a scale that goes from “harmless” to “hospital superbug”, that fester within them.

Some fun facts for you, as you consider your bottle:

 (i) a single bacterium, in the right conditions, can divide every twenty minutes, meaning that a colony of one can become a colony of millions within a few hours;

(ii) those right conditions involve warmth, moisture, and nutrients, all of which are abundantly supplied by your bottle;

(iii) it sometimes takes just ten E. coli bacteria – E. coli is everywhere, and loves human faeces like knights love castles – to make you sick. Very sick.

 “I would not drink from any of those bottles,” he told me. Ouch. We’d avoided the pink agar jelly bloom of E. coli, but five dishes out of six (shout-out to Olivia, the only non-horrid member of our team) had dark green smears across them. “It’s probably going to be Klebsiella,” Dr Roberts explained. “It’s a type of bacteria that can be associated with faeces, and it can be quite pathogenic. Not all of them [like E. coli, Klebsiella has a number of varieties], but some of them.”

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