Cell phones- homes for microbes!

Authors:Radhika Rana, Sunanda Joshi, Sucheta Lakhani, Mandeep Kaur, Pragnesh Patel
Int J Biol Med Res. 2013; 4(3): 3403-3406  |  PDF File


Cell phones are in close contact with the body and serve as reservoirs of infection allowing the transportation of the contaminating bacteria to many different clinical & non-clinical environments. Further sharing of cell phones between HCWs (Healthcare workers) & non-HCWs may distinctly facilitate the spread of potentially pathogenic bacteria to the community. Objectives: To study the bacterial flora present on the cell phones of HCWs and to compare it with that found on cell phones of non-HCWs in terms of composition and antibiotic sensitivity. Materials & Methods: A total of 100 samples from the cell phones of HCWs and non-HCWs were collected from the surfaces of the cell phones. The swabs were inoculated on Mac Conkey’s, Blood Aagar and Saboraud’s Dextrose Agar plates. Bacterial isolates were identified using standard methods & Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test was performed as per CLSI standards. Result: Of the 50 samples from HCWs 10 were contaminated with S. aureus, 4 CONS, 1 E. coli & Pseudomonas spp. together. Of the 10 S. aureus 40% were resistant to methicillin & >1 organism was found in 2 samples. Of the 50 samples from Non-HCWs 18 were contaminated with S. aureus of which 50% were MRSA and 6 CONS. No fungus was isolated. Conclusion: To prevent the spread of potential pathogens through mobile phones, training of the HCWs about strict infection control practices, hand hygiene, environmental disinfection, routine decontamination of mobile phones with alcohol and discouraging sharing of phones between HCWs & Non-HCWs, should be done to prevent the spread of infection in hospital settings.