Devout Jews should think twice about kissing hospital mezuzot.
According to an Israeli study released this month by Assaf Harofeh Hospital, mezuzot in medical wards frequently carry germs and bacteria that can lead to illnesses such as urinary tract infections, intestinal upsets and skin rashes.
The conclusions were reached after studying 70 mezuzot from different parts of the hospital. Though the communicability of the illnesses is far greater among patients, whose immune system may be compromised, doctors said healthy hospital staff and visitors also should take precautions.
Many religiously oriented Jews touch mezuzot when passing and then kiss their fingers as a sign of reverence for the biblical inscription carried within.