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Assessment of bacterial and fungal contamination of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in some banks in Michael Okpara University Agriculture was investigated. Two Automated Teller Machines from each of five banks in the school were used and three machine parts, screen, button and shutters were swabbed and cultured for bacteria and fungi growth and antibiogram. Results obtained show mean bacteria load of 2.2 x 105 cfu/ml to 5.5 x 105 cfu/ml in the screen, 3.5 x 105 cfu/ml to 6.5 x 105 cfu/ml in the buttons and 2.0 x 105 cfu/ml to 3.0 x 105 cfu/ml in the shutter. The fungal load 1.0 – 2.5 x 102 cfu/ml in the screen and buttons each and 0.5 – 1.5 cfu/ml in the shutter. Also up to seven bacteria species and four fungi species were isolated with varying occurrences. The bacteria isolates included Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Bacillus as Gram positive while EnterobacterEscherichia and Pseudomonas as Gram negative bacteria isolates are with occurrences in the range of 11.0% (Pseudomonas), Staphylococcus 21.5%; Escherichia coli 15%, Streptococcus spp. 22.5%, Enterobacter 12.5%, Coagulase negative Staphylococcus 14.0%,  Penicillium spp. 18.8%,  spp. 13.5%. Occurrence was from 15.0% (Rhizopus), Aspergillus niger 30%, Penicillium spp. 18.5%, Yeast 36.5% to 30.0% . The bacteria isolates antibiogram show a high resistance in the range of 44.4% (Bacillus) to 88.9% (Pseudomonas). The react further show that there are more variations in the occurrence of the isolates in the different parts of the machines on one hand and between the Automated Teller Machines in the different banks within   the school. First bank Automated Teller Machines and Eco bank Automated Teller Machines had more organisms than the other banks with records of 75% to 100% (1.5/ to 2/2). Also the screen and buttons were more contaminated than the shutter and that was reflected in all the banks studied. The different drugs had varying effects on the organism. Ampiclox, Ampicillin, Pefloxacin were the least potent as all the test organisms exhibited resistance to them while Oflaxacine, Gentamycin  and Ciprofloxacin were the most potent drugs having recorded susceptibility of more than four isolates each. It was concluded that the high prevalence of different microbial isolates in the Automated Teller Machines implying equally high level of contamination and which calls for public health concern.


Title page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                  iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   v         

List of Tables                                                                                                                          vii

Abstract                                                                                                                                  viii



1.1       Background of the study                                                                                            1

1.2       History of Automated Teller Machine                                                                        2

1.2.1    The Spread of Automated Teller Machines                                                                3

1.2.2    Automated Teller Machines Today                                                                            4

1.3       Aims and Objectives                                                                                                   4

1.4       Justification                                                                                                                 5

1.5       Scope of Work                                                                                                            5

1.6       Statistical analysis                                                                                                       6


2.1       Automated Teller Machines (ATM)                                                                           7

2.2       Types of Automated Teller Machine                                                                          7

2.2.1    Benefits of Automated Teller Machines                                                                     9

2.3       Uses of Automated Teller Machine                                                                            9

2.4       Places to Find Automated Teller Machine in Nigeria                                     12

2.5       Microbes Associated With Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)                              12

2.6       Microorganisms in Automated Teller Machines and where they can be found         14

2.6.1     Automated Teller Machine Screen                                                                            15

2.7       Microorganisms Isolated From the Keypads of the Automated Teller Machine       15

2.8       Ways to Reduce Microbial Contamination on Automated Teller Machines              16


2.8.1    Assumption on how Microorganism can be reduced on Automated                         17

Teller Machine Screen

2.9       How Microorganism Contaminate the Automated Teller Machine Screen                18

2.10     Research Works on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Microbiology                      19


3.1       Sources and Materials                                                                                                 22

3.2       Sample Collection                                                                                                       22

3.3       Procedure                                                                                                                    22

3.4       Inoculation of Media                                                                                                  23

3.5       Identification and Characterization of Bacteria and Fungi Isolate                            23

3.5.1    Gram Staining                                                                                                             23

3.5.2    Catalase Test                                                                                                               24

3.5.3    Methyl Red Test                                                                                                         24

3.5.4    Citrate Test                                                                                                                 25

3.5.5    Coagulase Test                                                                                                            25

3.5.6    Oxidase Test                                                                                                               25

3.5.7    Indole Test                                                                                                                  25

3.5.8    Voges Proskauer Test                                                                                                 26

3.5.9    Motility Test                                                                                                               26

3.6       Identification of Fungi Isolates                                                                                  28

3.7       Identification of Bacteria Isolates                                                                              28

3.8       Antibiotics Susceptibility Testing                                                                               28


4.0       Results                                                                                                                        30



5.1       Discussion                                                                                                                   44

5.2      Conclusion                                                                                                                   46

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                                      46








Table                                                              Title                                                               Page

1:                     Biochemical test for identification of microorganism                        33


2:                     Morphological and characterization of fungal isolates                                   34


3:                     Occurrence of bacteria isolates from Automated Teller Machines in

                        Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Umuahia                     35


4:                     Occurrence of fungal isolates from Automated Teller Machine in

                        Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Umuahia                     36


5:                     Total heterotrophic count (cfu/ml) of screen samples obtained from

Automated Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of

Agriculture, Umudike                                                                                     37

6:                     Total heterotrophic count (cfu/ml) of button samples obtained from

Automated Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of

Agriculture, Umudike                                                                                     38

7:                     Total heterotrophic count (cfu/ml) of shutter samples obtained from

Automated Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of

Agriculture, Umudike                                                                                     39

8:                     Total fungal count (cfu/ml) of screen samples obtained from Automated

Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture,

Umudike                                                                                                         40

9:                     Total fungal count (cfu/ml) of button samples obtained from Automated

Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture,

Umudike                                                                                                         41

10:                   Total fungal count (cfu/ml) of shutter samples obtained from Automated

Teller Machine in banks in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture,

Umudike                                                                                                         42

11:                   Susceptibility of bacteria isolates in Automated Teller Machines to some

                        antibiotics                                                                                                        43






Increasing number of people are using Automated Teller Machine (ATM) as time crawls by (Tekerekoglu et al., 2012). Microorganisms are very small that they can’t be seen unaided natural human eyes except by the use of a microscope (Christner et al., 2008). Jansen (2001) observed that microorganisms are ubiquitous and have an amazing ability to adapt to new environment and further multiply in large numbers within a short time. According to Christner et al., (2008) pathogens spread among people with direct and indirect contact on hands or inanimate object and this makes health care settings to put in place control measures to reduce microbial transmission in their ways. (Dogan et al., 2008) stressed the importance of improving hand hygiene as an important strategy for significant reduction of spread of pathogens in the public as supplements to vaccination and public enlightenment programs

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Banks have become an essential requirements of social life while their machines are frequently localize in city centers, trade areas and elsewhere, hundreds of people of diverse social economic and hygiene state use these machines daily. Customers make contact with the surface of the machines including keypads, screen and buttons. Hand born transmission is said to be one of the important routes for many infectious agents to spread in a community (Janson, 2001), given that handshakes, patting etc are regular greeting associate in our culture and tradition. Iquo et al., (2015), observed that most users of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) are largely ignorant of the potential hazards they face each time they use an Automated Teller Machine. Also studies by the United States Center for disease control (USCDC, 2005) revealed that microorganism could be passed from contaminated hands to cyber appliances such as surface of keyboard of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and subsequently passed into other unsuspecting users of the appliance.

Some research report on Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in other parts of the country has recorded varied level of contamination of the machines by microbes and this has been attributed to different possible factor which include of user as well as the environmental condition around the Automated teller machines. (Chairman et al., 2011). Also Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at various locations showed strong variation in the microbial load and flora. It has been suggested that public health professionals need to know the hygiene status of Bank Automated teller machines in order to develop preventive measures against the health risk caused by such devices. The investigation of microbial quality of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) devices may be a valuable tool to increase ones knowledge and awareness about possible transmission ways of pathogens in public.


Many experts believe that the first Automated Teller Machine was the creation of an American inventor and businessman named Luther Simjian. Simjian held patents on all kinds of things-including an array flight simulator, a colour x-ray machine, a bicycle and a teleprompter but he was best known for his work on bankography, a machine that could accept cash or check deposits at any hour of the day (Batiz-lazo et al., 2014).

In 1960, Simjian managed to persuade a New York City Bank to take a few of his automatic deposit machines. So that customers could trust that they would see their money again, there was a microfilm camera inside the bankograph that took a snapshot of every deposit. Customers received a copy of the photo as their receipt. Still, the Bankograph did not catch on. The only people using the machines were prostitutes and gamblers who didn’t want to deal with tellers face to face. Simjian explained, and there were not enough of them to make the machines a worthwhile investment.

By the end of the 1960s, however, times were changing and a broader segment of the population more comfortable with the idea of self-service and more willing to trust unfamiliar technologies was willing to give automated banking a try. In 1967, a Scottish inventor named John Shepherd Barron was sitting in the bathtub when he had a flash of genius: if vending machines could dispense chocolate bars, why couldn’t they dispense cash? (John, 1967). Barclays, a London bank, loved the idea, and Shepherd Barron’s did not use plastic cards. Instead, he used paper vouchers printed with radioactive ink so that the machine could read them. The customer entered an identification code and took her cash a maximum of £10 at a time (Mary, 2011). The first Automated Teller Machine in the United State was devised by a Dallas engineer and former professional baseball player named Donald Wetzel. Wetzel’s machine used plastic cards like the ones we use today (instead of radioactive ink, the cards stored account information in magnetic strips) in September 1969, a chemical Bank branch on long Island installed the first of Wetzel’s machines.

1.2.1    The Spread of Automated Teller Machines

By 1970, Dozens of United State banks had jumped on the Automated Teller Machine bandwagon. To introduce this new machine to customers, banks used all kinds of advertising tricks. For example, to get the attention of female customers, a bank in Columbus, ohio, sponsored a six-hours Paul Newman movie marathon on a local television channel. Every 25 minutes during the movies, commercials for the bank touted the advantages of its new cash-dispensing machine.

However, it took a corporate gamble and a blizzard for the Automated Teller Machine to win the confidence of American consumers. In 1977, the chairman of Citibank took a huge risk, spending more than $100 million to install Automated Teller Machines all over New York City. That investment paid off the following January when a huge blizzard hit New York, dumping 17 inches of snow on the city. Banks were closed for days. Meanwhile, Automated Teller Machine use increased by 20 percent within days, Citibank had launched its by-now-familiar “The citi never sleeps” and campaign. Posters and billboards showed customers trudging through snow to get to Citibank Automated Teller Machines. After that, almost every one of the country’s banks followed citi’s lead. The era of the Automated Teller Machine was underway.

1.2.2    Automated Teller Machines Today

Today, there are almost 2 million Automated Teller Machines around the globe. Although use of the machines has declined in recent years, likely because more people make purchases using credit and debit cards instead of cash, the Automated Teller Machine continues to have a place in modern culture. Today’s machines sell everything from airtime tickets to movie tickets to medicine (Harper et al., 2013).


The aim is to study the microbial contamination of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The aim of this study is to assess the level of microbial contamination of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in some banks in Umuahia. The objective includes specifically, the following:

a.       To determine the bacteria and fungi load of different part of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in banks in Umuahia.

b.      To determine the prevalence (occurrence) of the different bacteria and fungi isolate from the different parts of the test Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the different banks

c.       To evaluate the potential health risk (if any) to which Automated Teller Machine (ATM) users in Umuahia are exposed on the basis of findings from the project work.


This work was done to compare existing knowledge and research associated with the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) like Bacteria Found On Banks Automated Teller Machines    by Tekerekoglu et al., (2012) may lead to undue exposure of users to health risks whereas a compared knowledge of such risks (as may be seen from this work) may enable users to be cautious in their contact with the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Again such information as may be obtained from this work may assist health official in handling health situation and planning preventive health care for the public.

1.5       SCOPE OF WORK

The project work will cover the isolation, characterization and identification of bacteria and fungi isolates from the test Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Antibiotic susceptibility test. The work will also evaluate the relative occurrence of the different isolates, assessment of their respective occurrence (prevalence) as well as their pathogenecity as a basis of projecting possible health risk to users.

Against the above background, this project work was conceived to assess the microbial (Bacteria and fungi) contamination of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in banks in Michael Okpara University, Umuahia.


A statistical analysis of the level of variation (ANOVA) between the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from the different banks on one hand between the status of the different Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) parts studied.


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