Dr Xochitl Morgan was one of the authors of a research paper published by the American Society for Microbiology which has featured in the New York Times, demonstrating that the microbes found in US subways are generally not harmful.
This result contradicts the common belief that surfaces in public places tend to be crawling with pathogens. Some of the most common taxa encountered were human skin and oral commensals such as Propionibacterium, Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.
“We were specifically checking for bad bugs or the kind of DNA that can make good bugs go bad,” said the lead author, Curtis Huttenhower of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “But even though we think of it as dirty, the transit system has only the kind of microbes you run into shaking people’s hands.”