Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at the Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey, tested the telephones of physicians and nurses in hospital operating rooms as well as intensive care units. They found that about 95% were contaminated with bacteria of different types, including the 'superbug', MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), thus potentially causing infections ranging from relatively minor skin complaints to life-threatening illness. Only 10% of staff regularly cleaned their phone.
The authors say, "Our results suggest cross-contamination of bacteria between the hands of healthcare workers and their mobile phones.
. These mobile phones could act as a reservoir of infection which may facilitate patient-to-patient transmission of bacteria in a hospital setting".
Their findings show an obvious need to find ways to prevent contamination of mobile phones and other hand-held electronic devices. There ought to be strict infection-control procedures, environmental disinfection, hand hygiene and decontamination methods.
Fatma Ulger, Saban Esen, Ahmet Dilek, Keramettin Yanik, Murat Gunaydin and Hakan Leblebicioglu. Are we aware how contaminated our mobile phones are with nosocomial pathogens? Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, (in press)
Adapted from materials provided by Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.