Almost all of the holy water in Austria's churches is contaminated with bacteria from fecal matter, a new study has found.
Researchers from the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna examined water from 21 holy springs and 18 church vessels and concluded that 86 percent of the samples contained traces of bacteria found in fecal matter, ABC News reported.
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"We need to warn people against drinking from these sources," Dr. Alexander Kirschner, study researcher and microbiologist at the Medical University of Vienna, told ABC News. "Holy water in churches and chapels may cause infections via wetting of lips and sprinkling on persons."
Some of the holy water analyzed in the study reportedly contained up to 62 million bacteria per every milliliter. In comparison, the Daily Mirror reported British tap water is not legally permitted to have more than 100 bacteria
Kirschner advised churches to either change the water frequently or add salt to the fonts to decrease the amount of bacteria.
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Contaminants included E. coli, enterococci, and Campylobacter, which can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.
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