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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/169

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165
SOILED PAPER MONEY

clusively that money is not a means for the transmission of infectious diseases, but I do think that the absence of virulent disease germs shows that soiled money is at least not a common means of transmission of disease. In order to obtain any conclusive evidence on this point it would be necessary to make a careful study of hundreds or even a thousand bills from hospitals and private sick rooms, drug stores and various other sources.

Emphasis must be given to the animal inoculations carried out in connection with this study, for in a study of this kind they are much more important than the culture experiments, when we consider the susceptibility of guinea pigs to many of the infectious diseases, especially tuberculosis and diphtheria. There may develop within the animal body other forms which would not be detected in a study of the cultures or smears.

It is no surprise that the theoretical does not agree with the practical side of the subject under discussion. This is often the case, especially when the subject is one which concerns the general public, the majority of whom readily agrees with any one who says that dirty money is a certain means of transmission of infectious diseases. Why shouldn't this be so, when we think of the dirt and odors that accompany some of our paper currency? The bills have been in contact with many hands, not necessarily infected ones, but some that have at least been in contact with sores or sputum. Certainly a black picture could be painted and the possibilities made to appear enormous; yet another view is clearly set forth by a bank teller who said: "If one stops to think, money can't be a very common means of transmission, for if it were there wouldn't be so many of us alive to-day; the escape from sure death of those whose duty calls for the constant handling of money, is certainly not merely due to chance."

One conclusion that may be drawn, after a careful study of the subject, is that "money constitutes an unimportant factor in the transmission of disease." We want and certainly need a more frequent redemption of our soiled and worn bills, yet the facts and evidences at hand do not justify us in alarming the public needlessly by rash statements concerning our currency. Admitting the possibility that money may act as a medium of transmission, certainly the failure of any virulent disease germs to manifest themselves in the foregoing experiments will allow us to feel a bit easier in regard to dirty money.