Ghanaian currency notes are handled by all manner of people including ready-to-eat food sellers who serve food and handle the currency notes as they sell making the notes dirty and cross-contaminated. Hence this study aims at determining bacterial species and level of contamination of the notes in circulation. Ghanaian currency notes were collected at random from ready-to-eat food sellers in Kumasi. Buffered peptone water (BPW) washings of the notes were inoculated onto plate count agar (PCA) for total viable count and then Blood and MacConkey agar for bacteria identification. The study reveals 98.6% of the currency notes were bacterially contaminated, 12 (17.14%) had acid-fast bacilli, and 1.43% Taenia sp. ovum. The bacterial mean viable count was 1.5×104±1.1×101 CFU/Note, the GH¢1 had the highest mean viable count of 4.0×104 CFU/Note, the GH¢5 1.8×104 CFU/Note, and then the GH¢10 had 2.8×103 CFU/Note. The isolates were Bacillus species (41.07%), coagulase-negative staphylococcus (33.04%), Staphylococcus aureus (7.14%),Enterococcus faecalis (7.14%), Citrobacter freundi (4.46%), Klebsiella pneumoniae(2.68%), Shigella dysenteriae (2.68%) and Escherichia coli (1.79%). The Ghanaian currency notes in circulation were found to be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms which can spread human diseases.
Key words: Bacterial contamination, currency notes, food poisoning.
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