America’s Unsavory Allies: Unwashed Hands in Britain

An interesting and unusually frank and revealing article was published on the BBC News website recently.

It is evocatively titled “Faecal [sic] Bacteria Join the Commute”.

Basically it presents the results of a study into how many English people (if any) wash their hands after using the toilet. Apparently, not many do. The findings are startling but perhaps not that surprising to those who know the English well. Very many Brits are going about their daily business (commuting, etc.) with fecal bacteria on their hands (simply put, they have shits on their mitts).

People in the north of England, such as in Liverpool and Newcastle, show more contamination with own (or somebody else’s too?) excrement, with more men than women found dirty-handed (53% to 30%), while in the south, in London for example, English women are more likely than men to have feces on their hands.

Well what can you say about that?

Don’t shake hands with the British on anything I guess (which is good advice for a whole lot of other reasons as well).

yup, that’s them, fecal bacteria, not a rare presence on British hands

However what the report fails to address is that, in Britain in general and in England in particular, fecal bacteria may be found not just on British people’s hands. The nasty bacteria are literally everywhere. It is a very little country, a small island territory (about the size of Vermont?), accomodating at great stress over 60 million people. Given congestion like that, no wonder that hygiene suffers. If the researchers behind the study looked for it, they would have found fecal bacteria everywhere in England: in the water that they drink, in the air that they breathe in, and — horrible — even in the food that they eat. Bon appetit.

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