While the NYC subway system is practically a giant bacteria conveyor belt, it turns out you aren't riding with traces of the bubonic plague or anthrax after all. Phew.
Months after releasing an alarming and highly publicized study suggesting the transit system might be home to said scary microbes, the scientists who authored the report are now walking back their claims of discovering infectious bacterial straphangers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The alarming findings were publicly disputed by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention as well as New York health officials, apparently prompting the researchers to admit their conclusions were overly speculative.
The researchers posted a formal correction to the study on July 29th stating, “There is no strong evidence to suggest these organisms are in fact present, and no evidence of pathogenicity."
But make no mistake, there's plenty of other bacteria hitching a ride on the trains, according to the study, which has not been entirely retracted. The scientists collected over 1,400 samples from 466 stations across the system, identifying over 15,000 life-forms. However, half of the DNA collected didn't match known organisms. Some of them were likely B&Ters from Jersey. The rest were probably from Staten Island.