NEWS
16/05/2017 11:12 BST

London Underground Lines Contain Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs, Study Reveals

Actually maybe we'll walk home...

A number of antibiotic-resistant superbugs have been discovered on the London Underground.

More than 80 swabs were taken from handles and seats of each of the tube lines as part of a study, revealing a total of 121 different types of bacteria and mould.

As many as 22 were found on certain lines, including antibiotic resistant E. coli, klebsiella pneumoniae and MRSA.

Waring Abbott via Getty Images
Do you know what's lurking inside your tube carriage?

These can cause vomiting, urinary tract infection, conjunctivitis and in some cases, such as klebsiella, can even lead to death in those with weak immune systems. 

Worryingly, nine of those found appear on the World Health Organisations’ list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” – a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

Is your underground line the dirtiest? Find out below...

  • 11Metropolitan Line – 11 bacteria found
    Metropolitan Line – 11 bacteria found
    Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • 10Bakerloo Line – 13 bacteria found
    Bakerloo Line – 13 bacteria found
    Luke MacGregor / Reuters
  • 9Hammersmith and City Line – 14 bacteria found
    Hammersmith and City Line – 14 bacteria found
    Atlantide Phototravel via Getty Images
  • 8Central Line – 16 bacteria found
    Central Line – 16 bacteria found
    PA Archive/PA Images
  • 7Waterloo and City Line – 16 bacteria found
    Waterloo and City Line – 16 bacteria found
    Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • 6District Line – 17 bacteria found
    District Line – 17 bacteria found
    PA Archive/PA Images
  • 5Northern Line – 18 bacteria found
    Northern Line – 18 bacteria found
    PA Archive/PA Images
  • 4Jubilee Line – 18 bacteria found
    Jubilee Line – 18 bacteria found
    George Rose via Getty Images
  • 3Piccadilly Line – 20 bacteria found
    Piccadilly Line – 20 bacteria found
    Pawel Libera via Getty Images
  • 2Circle Line – 20 bacteria found
    Circle Line – 20 bacteria found
    Ollie Millington via Getty Images
  • 1Victoria Line – 22 bacteria found
    Victoria Line – 22 bacteria found
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Dr Paul Matewele, from London Metropolitan University’s microbiology department, took part in the research. He said: “Not only did we find potentially life threatening bacteria’s which behaved like superbugs when tested against antibiotics, but other forms of mould and bacteria that can be harmful to human health were discovered as part of this research

“Bacteria from rodents like rats and mice were also found upon tube lines, along with traces of faecal bacteria and bacteria from sewage.

“These can cause water infections or skin infections like abscesses if you come into contact with them.”

Richard Baker via Getty Images
Buses actually came out as the cleanest form of transport

Taxis and buses in the capital were also tested as part of the study, commissioned by taxi insurers Staveley Head.

On average in each cab, researchers found 14 living bacteria, including Staphylococcus Aureus, Aeromonas Veronii, which can cause pneumonia and meningitis, as well as faeces and salmonella.

Perhaps surprisingly, buses came out as the cleanest mode of transport, with an average of eight per bus.

HuffPost UK has contacted Transport for London for comment.