Traders ask FM to act on disease-causing currency notes

In one of the studies, the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology found traces of DNA footprints of at least 78 disease-causing micro-organisms on currency notes. Reuters file photo

A pan-India traders body has urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to order “a larger investigation” to assess the possibilities of a spread of diseases by currency notes, observing that various reports have indicated so.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a letter to the finance minister on Sunday noted that various scientific journals have been publishing “alarming facts” about the possibility of the spread of communicable diseases through currency notes “almost every year.”

“It is regretted to note that sadly no cognizance has been taken (by the government) of this serious public health issue,” the traders' body said.

The CAIT said that the trading community across the country is the largest user of currency notes. If the reports are valid, it's not only traders but the consumers as well are vulnerable to infections.

“We request you to conduct a larger investigation to assess the possibility of diseases getting spread by currency notes and preventive steps be taken to protect people from the contamination of currency notes,” the traders' body added.

In one of the studies, the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), one of the top-rated research institute under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), found traces of DNA footprints of at least 78 disease-causing micro-organisms on currency notes.

“Most of them were found to be fungi but there were also bacteria that can cause diseases like dysentery, tuberculosis and ulcers. The study implies that the currency notes often act as carriers of these micro-organisms and can spread microbial diseases,” the traders' body noted, referring to the IGIB report.

The CAIT also referred to another report published in the Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2016 which stated that 86.4% of the 120 currency notes tested at the department of microbiology, Tirunelveli Medical Colege, Tamil Nadu, were contaminated with disease-causing pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and E Coli.

For the purpose of the study, currency notes had been collected from a variety of sources including doctors, banks, local markets, butchers, students and housewives.

“Interestingly, the notes collected from the doctors were also infected. We trust that the issue will receive the kind and immediate attention of the finance minister and he will be kind enough in taking effective steps,” CAIT national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said.

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Traders ask FM to act on disease-causing currency notes

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