DONíT WORRY ABOUT CATCHING THINGS WHEN YOUíRE SHAKING HANDS AT GRADUATION, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
How many problematic bacteria are transferred in a handshake, and now that graduation season is in full swing, should you plead broken bones or arthritis to avoid shaking hands? David Bishai, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says his study culturing hands following graduation ceremonies in several settings turned up very few pathogens, so donít worry.
BISHAI: Places like a graduation, maybe even a church where people are okay and theyíre not sick, I donít think that this is a scenario where weíre going to see a lot of bacterial pathogens being transmitted. Iíd love to repeat the study during flu season, Iíd like to look for viruses because I did not look for viruses in this study but Iím really not finding bacteria at a graduation, so yes, celebrate graduations. Now if you want to hug and kiss at a graduation, fine, it might be safer, but handshaking is safe too. :26
Bishai estimates one pathogenic strain of bacteria for every 5200 or so handshakes. At Johns Hopkins, Iím Elizabeth Tracey.