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contaminated healthcare worker phone

Mobile phones: emerging threat for infection control

This study was conducted to determine whether mobile phones of healthcare workers (HCWs) and corporate users harbour micro-organisms. Swabs collected from mobile phones were inoculated in solid and liquid media, and incubated aerobically. Growth was identified as per standard microbiological procedures. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined for Staphylococcus aureus. A questionnaire was used for data collection on awareness of mobile phone use. Of 51 HCWs and 36 corporate mobile phones sampled, only 5 (6%) showed no growth. Pathogens isolated from HCW samples included S. aureus [meticillin-sensitive S. aureus (4), meticillin-resistant S. aureus (2)], Escherichia coli (1), Klebsiella pneumoniae (1) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1). Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (43) were also isolated. Among corporate isolates, 29% were pathogenic. Polymicrobial growth was detected in 71% of HCW and 78% of corporate mobile phones. Only 12% of HCWs used disinfectants to wipe their mobile phones. Mobile phones serve as a ready surface for colonisation of nosocomial agents indicating the importance of hand hygiene to prevent cross-transmission.

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