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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Harmful germs found under nails
Scientists carried out tests on nail clippings from 100 men and women
Bacteria that could cause diarrhoea and vomiting may be hiding underneath fingernails, research has shown.

Scientists at Birmingham's Aston University carried out tests on nail clippings from 100 men and women.

The research found that potentially harmful bacteria lurked on 24% of the clippings from men and 15% of women's.

Poor toilet hygiene, contact with animals, handling raw meat and changing nappies can all increase the chances of people having bacteria on their hands.

'Guts of animals'

Dr Anthony Hilton, who carried out the research, said some of the most infectious traces, called enterobacteriaceae, could cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

Dr Hilton said: "The bacteria were concerning because the places that these organisms normally live is in the gut of animals or humans.

"They are strongly associated with the ability to cause gastroenteritis."

The research was based on nail clippings taken using sterile clippers or scissors from both hands of 55 women and 45 men.

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