Churchgoers, beware! The Holy water was reportedly to contain fecal matter. A recent study shows that around 86 percent of Holy water, which is generally used in baptism, may be infected with harmful bacteria.
The Medical University of Vienna researchers tested 18 fonts and 21 springs in Austria and found the water samples contain almost 62 million bacteria in every milliliter. Several bacteria found include Campylobacter, Enterococci and E. coli, which are easily present in fecal matter.
According to the Journal of Water and Health, researchers discovered the every church, which was a part of the study, used infected water. Even hospital chapels had similar results. The busier the hospital or the church was, the more bacteria were found in the contaminated water.
Dr. Alexander Kirschner, a microbiologist from the University of Vienna, told ABC News that this problem had been underestimated. Infected water in hospitals can be fatal as many people in these places usually have weakened immunity and may be susceptible to infection. Kirschner is one of the researchers of the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology in Vienna who led the study.
The Holy water, aside from harmful bacteria, also contained nitrates. These chemicals are generally used in fertilizers. The EPA said water with higher level of nitrates poses threats to physical health. It may cause infant deaths. Nitrate ingestion may result to having blue baby syndrome or even shortness of breath.
Kirschner said the general quality of water had been terribly poor during the Middle Ages. People used to suffer from waterborne diseases quite often. When they consumed water from a protected spring from places like the church, they used to feel better as the water from the spring was comparatively less polluted, he told the Daily Mail.
He suggested that churches should tell visitors not to drink the Holy water and this should be changed quite often for sanitation purposes.
Video courtesy: YouTube/NewsyScience
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