What disgusting bacteria is at your subway station?

Meet your fellow commuter, urinary tract infection bacteria
Meet your fellow commuter, urinary tract infection bacteria

What do you think about when you ride the subway? How crappy your day at work is going to be? How you wish you could somehow break free of the capitalist machine chewing us all up? Something dirty about that really attractive person in the same car as you? Here’s a new thing to think about after you swipe a MetroCard: what specific bacteria were you hanging out with at your station? You can know now, thanks to an interactive map the Wall Street Journal helped put together.

The map of subway bacteria DNA is based on work that researchers from the Weil Cornell Medical College did, as they went around and tested all 466 subway stops in New York City. Genetic material from 15,152 species was found strewn around the stations, with more than half coming from bacteria. Which isn’t too shocking, because bacteria is all around us. It’s on you right now.┬áBefore you start retching, we should point out that the copy the map comes with says that most of the bacteria DNA is harmless. Still, what if you just sat on a seat full of the harmful bacterial DNA? Think about it.

If you really want to know, you can check station-by-station to see what kind of DNA was found there. Sometimes it’s bacteria associated with something like mozzarella cheese or sunscreen. Other bacteria though, sounds worse. For example, at the Bedford-Nostrand G stop, bacteria from urinary-tract infections and respiratory ailments is waiting for you, as is antibiotic resistant bacteria. So maybe don’t immediately put your whole hand in your mouth after swiping in from now on. We mean, you shouldn’t do that anyway, you’re an adult for Christ’s sake.

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