Shaking hands spreads far less germs than commonly believed

London: According to a new study shaking hands does not increase the chances of spreading bacteria.

Scientists from the ‘Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’ looked at the risks of passing along bacteria through this social courtesy at graduation ceremonies across Maryland in the US.

Just in order to get the data, the researchers actually swabbed the graduates’ hands before and immediately following the ceremony to identify any pathogenic bacteria lurking on their palms. They found that 93 percent of samples contained nonpathogenic bacteria, reports the Independent.

"A single handshake offers only a small risk of acquiring harmful bacteria," said researcher Dr. David Bishai in a release.

The study compared its results to another of health workers caring for patients, who were found to be at a 17 percent risk of contracting dangerous germs through shaking the hands of patients who were contaminated with MRSA.

However, according to experts shaking hands obviously enhances the risk of virus and bacteria spread.

Their results, published online May 11, will appear in the June issue of the ‘Journal of School Nursing’.