Doctors and nurses’ mobile phones crawling with bacteria

March 13th, 2009 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 13 (IANS) Cell phones belonging to hospital staff are crawling with bacteria, a potential source of hospital-acquired infections.
Medical researchers from Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey, tested doctors and nurses’ mobile phones in operating rooms and intensive care units.

They found that almost 95 percent were contaminated with bacteria of different types, potentially causing infections ranging from relatively minor skin complaints to life-threatening illness. Only 10 percent of the staff regularly cleaned their phone.

“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,” study authors said, according to an Ondokuz Mayis release.

Their findings reveal an obvious need for active strategies to prevent contamination of mobile phones and other hand-held electronic devices: strict infection-control procedure, environmental disinfection, hand hygiene and decontamination methods are recommended.

These findings are slated for publication in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.

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