NEW YORK, Aug 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A test for germs on New York City surfaces found the door handle of the city's Department of Health had the greatest accumulation of E.coli.
Scientists say E.coli is a fecal organism spread by people's failure to wash their hands after using a rest room.
"It was off the charts," said Dr. Phillip Tierno, director of the Department of Microbiology and Pathology at the New York University School of Medicine.
The health department culture showed a variety of germs, including E.coli and the highly pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause antibiotic-resistant infections.
Tierno directed New York Post journalists armed with swabs who took to the streets to collect 30 samples to determine what surfaces are the "germiest" in the Big Apple.
They found one of the few germ-free zones was atop the Empire State Building, where they found only harmless organisms.
"The constant wind probably keeps germs from staying on," said Tierno, the author of "The Secret Life of Germs."
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.