The story

Jake Austin, 10 months old, loves playing on the ground. On a typical February morning, Jake and his 4-year-old brother, Hank, are rolling around on the family's shiny hardwood floor, the same floor where they and their parents track in dirt from outside every day.

The boys' parents, Laura, 28, and Clint, 36, worry that they and their children are constantly getting exposed to bacteria around the house.

"The thing that concerns me most is the baby crawling on the floor," Laura Austin said. "He licks the floor, so there is no telling what he is picking up."

CNN used the Austin house, in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, as a test case to see just how germy a four-person family home might be. Microbiologist Zehava Eichenbaum, associate professor at Georgia State University, came armed with swabs to test the hot spots for a variety of bacteria.

As it turns out, Eichenbaum did not find anything to be too concerned about in the Austin home. There were bacteria almost everywhere, but they were mostly the benign kind found in a normal environment. While most of these microorganisms are commonly found in or on our body, some that were found on the Austins' floor can produce disease -- such as shigella, staphylococcus pneumonia, or staphylococcus aureus -- if they are inhaled, ingested or touch skin breaks, Eichenbaum said. Still, nobody has gotten sick. Read full article »

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