Good Morning America is taking on bacteria. Bacteria that are found indoors. The report: GMA Germ Test Shows Public Seats Full of Bacteria – ABC News has some interesting bits and the video is nice in many ways. The bottom line – they found bacteria (by culturing) in all sorts of indoor locations. And they did a kind of funny survey – checking out all the seats they sat in in a journey across the country.
But in many ways the report is over the top. Yes, wherever they looked they found that they could grow bacteria from swabs from that place. Some places seemed to have more bacteria than others. And some places had more potentially yucky bacteria than others. The problem with this is, well, no s&*t (sorry – pun intended). I would expect to find one could grow bacteria from just about any indoor environment, especially one where people have been sitting a lot.
What does the report really mean? Probably nothing. Finding bacteria here and there is not what we need to know these days. We need to know how to predict which microbes and going to be found where. And then we need to know how to shift the distribution of microbes to such that we keep “bad” ones away and stimulate the growth of the “good ones.” A few swabs here and there and a TV report are entertaining for sure. But what we really need is more real microbial ecology studies of the places we spend most of our time – buildings, cars, trains, etc.