Survey of the currency bills in University of Uyo, for fungal contaminations revealed presence of fungal organisms such as species of Aspergillius niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, penicillium spp, mucor spp, candida albicans,and Rhizopus spp. This study was carried out using a total of 101 samples of banknotes denomination (N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500, and N1000) obtained from different points of collections within University of Uyo. The currencies were processed for fungal isolation using potato dextrose agar medium and streaking technique was employed for the isolation and purification of the colonies. Microscopic and Macroscopic examination revealed that N500 denomination had the highest incidence of organism, and samples from College of Science and Technology buttery were also the most contaminated. Paper money handling should include but not limited to carrying currency notes in wallets, envelops and holding with clean hands. The promotion of a cashless economy is also advocated; Nigerian paper money has been found in this study to be contaminated with Bacteria and could be vehicles for the transmission of fungal diseases of man.
In most day-to-day cash transactions, money, in form of notes and coins, pass through the hands of many people; as a form of payment for goods and services, settlement of debts and for deferred payment in economic activities (Beg and fisher, 1997). Various denomination of the naira notes have been minted by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). They are released to the public, through the Commercial banks currently; there are eight denominations of the naira in note form: N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1000 notes. The N5, N10, N20, N50,
N100 and N200 naira notes are the most common and are more involved daily cash transactions. They are common especially among the populace while the N500 and N1000 notes are commonly used among the wealthy and in corporate transactions (Okon et al., 2003). Individuals handling the notes shed some of their body flora on the notes; leading to the spread of the microorganisms among the handlers. This has been implicated in serious health hazard such as impairment of lungs function (Osim, 1996). The contamination of the notes can be traced to dust, soil, water, micro flora of the body of handlers (hand, skin, etc.), the saliva often used when counting the notes and wounds. Some money handling habits such as: keeping naira notes in brassiere, socks and pockets, under the carpet or rugs and squeezing in the hand frequently introduce microbes to the notes. Citrobacter spp Mycobacterium lapiae, Salmonella spp, Shigella spp, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeroginosa have been isolated from naira notes (Haque, 2003).
The contamination of the naira notes could also be from several sources, it could be from the atmosphere, during storage, usage, handling or production (Awodi et al., 2000). Daily transactions have made the naira to pass through many hands and pathogens become imposed on them. Ogo et al., (2004) reported that the source of contamination could be as a result of poor or negative money handling practices like spraying during ceremonies where such notes may be trampled upon when they fall on the ground.Most of them are normal flora of the human skin; however, some e.g. S. aureus and P. aeroginosa can be opportunistic pathogens. This suggests that the notes could serve as formites for some infectious agents. In this study dirty naira notes of different denominations were collected and analysed for their bacteriological quality as indicated by the kinds of bacteria they harbour.
Parasites are organisms that live in a close relationship with other organisms (hosts) and are capable of causing harm to their host. Parasites that have been observed to be contaminants of the naira notes are mainly of faecal origin (Awodi et al., 2000). When hands used in cleaning up the anus after passing out faeces are not properly washed and are used to touching the naira note in any way, the tendency is contamination with the trophozoite of the developed parasite, eggs, cysts or even the oocyst. Other attitudes such as the wetting of hands or fingers with saliva or use of contaminated water to lubricate the hand in counting money could lead to possible transfer of parasite and bacteria from such medium to the notes (Ameh and Balogun, 1997).
Bacteria are ubiquitous and their ability to contaminate objects such as the naira notes is very prevalent when compared to other organisms. Ordinarily, the exposure of naira notes to the atmosphere could even bring about contamination depending on the environment in question (Ameh and Balogun, 1997). Since the isolation of bacterial and fungal organisms from naira notes in Zaria (Ameh and Balogun, 1997) and the effect of parasitic and bacterial organisms on man it has become necessary for thorough investigations to be carried out to determine safety of the naira note.
Microbial Contamination of paper money is not confined to developing nations. Several studies from the United States reported contamination of coins and paper bills and the identification revealed the presence of pathogenic microbes like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella enterobacter. Another survey isolated total of 93 different types of bacteria belonging to the genera Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterobacter, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Diptheroids, Klebseilla and Escherichia.
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study is to investigate the likelihood of microbial contamination of Nigerian currency in circulation in University of Uyo. Knowledge of the microbial diversity of currency notes in circulation can provide the basis for improved health consciousness in people during currency handling and effective control of transmission of infections.
This research was carried out:
- To isolate and characterize Bacteria from paper note samples collected in University of Uyo
- To check for the most prevalent Bacteria in University of Uyo
- To show the area with the most contaminated paper notes
- To identify ways of control, enlightenment and eradication of these disease-causing organisms.
Bacteria are a diverse group of microorganisms which are of various importance in food and health sciences and they also a major important pathogenic organism, their spores can survive dryness and this study is to isolate and characterize Bacteria found on the Nigerian currency in University of Uyo and how these organisms can affect the health of populace of this institution.