Fecal matter found on Madrid’s public phones

A third of all Madrid's public and shared telephones contain traces of fecal matter, a study has found.

Fecal matter found on Madrid's public phones
There are more bacteria on shared phones than in toilets, research carried out in the UK in 2011 revealed. File photo: Mr Hayata/Flickr

A study into the hygiene of Madrid's public telephones has found that 95 percent are contaminated with bacteria, Spain's ABC newspaper reported on Tuesday.

More startling still, 30 percent of the phones tested contained traces of fecal matter.

The research by Spanish company a64 looked at 40 shared and public telephones in Madrid. The firm collected 130 samples and tested these in three different microbiology laboratories.

Testing by a64 showed that 30 percent of these phones were positive for the E.Coli bacteria. The most common microorganisms found, meanwhile, were aerobic mesophilic bacteria, which grow in conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold and are found in yoghurt and cheese.

Ten of the telephones tested in Madrid were located in 10 four- and five-star hotels. Others were situated in public call centres, at Madrid's Atocha train station and the capital's Barajas Airport.

The remainder of the telephones were public phones on Madrid's streets.

A study carried out by Queen Mary, University of London in 2011 found that there were more bacteria on telephones than on shoes or in toilets.

That study found that one in six mobile phones in the United Kingdom was contaminated with fecal matter in the form of the E.Coli bacteria.

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Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.