A new study by US researchers has found that many of the personally unique bacteria found on our hands can also be found on our smartphones.
The findings, published in open-access journal PeerJ, open up the possibility of smartphones being used to check if a person has picked up bugs in germ-heavy environments such as hospitals, rather than testing the person themselves.
The researchers, from the University of Oregon, sampled the hands and phones of 17 people for 7000 different naturally occurring microbes commonly found on our bodies. They found that 82 per cent of the dominant microbes on their hands were also found on their phones, and the collections matched their own personal microbiome, or the community of bacteria regularly carried by a person. Microbiologically, women were found to be more closely connected to their phones than men.