You'll Never Guess How Many Bacteria Are In Your Subway Stop

Photographed by Ruby Yeeh.
Millions of people ride the New York City subway system each day. Apparently, so do 15,152 different types of bacteria. Our question: Do they buy Metrocards?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cornell researcher Christopher Mason spent 18 months collecting DNA samples from the turnstiles (yes, the ones we touch multiple times a day), railings, benches, and ticketing stations of New York City's subway stations. What he found was gross...disturbing...we still can't get a grasp on the right word to describe the fact that we're exposed to over 15,000 kinds of bacteria on our daily commutes. Findings for some of the busiest, most populated subway hubs include:

14th Street-Union Square: 50 different types of unique bacteria, including those associated with food poisoning, urinary tract infections, and toxic clean-up.

42nd Street-Times Square: 114 different types of unique bacteria, including those associated with staph infections, meningitis, Italian cheese, sepsis, and radiation resistance.

Atlantic Avenue-Barclay's Center: 96 different types of unique bacteria, including those associated with respiratory ailments, antibiotic resistance, heart-valve infections, and oil clean-up.

Grand Central-42nd Street: 128 different types of unique bacteria, including those associated with Mozzarella cheese, staph infections, urinary tract infections, and sepsis.

World Trade Center: 43 different types of unique bacteria, including those associated with kimchi and sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, medical device infections, and staph infections.

Yeah, our subway stations are pretty damn disgusting. But, are they harmful? The scientists in the study claim that we're fine, and not at any sudden risk for some sort of plague break-out on the Upper East Side. While that's reassuring, it's certainly not an easy pill to swallow as we head home tonight through a cesspool — of sorts — of growing, thriving bacteria.

Wondering what else you're exposed to on a daily basis? Click here to find out what bacteria is lingering at your local stop. Cue the "ew." (WSJ)

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