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Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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Abstract

Cell phones are commonly used in healthcare setting for quick communication within hospitals. Concerns have been increased about the use of these devices in hospitals, as they can be used everywhere even in toilets. Therefore, they can be vehicles for transmitting pathogens to patients. This study aimed to examine the presence of pathogenic bacteria on the surfaces of cell phones that are used frequently by medical students at pre-clinical years. This cross-sectional study identified both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria from cell phones of 105 medical students at King Abdulaziz University, using standard microbiological methods. Out of 105 cell phones screened, 101 (96.2%) were contaminated with bacteria. Normal floras belonging to Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci (CoNS), were the most abundant isolates (68%). Seventeen (16.2%) cell phones were found to harbor Staphylococcus aureus. Gram positive bacilli were isolated from 20 (19%) samples. Viridans streptococci and Pantoea species were also isolated but at lower levels. Our findings indicate that cell phones can act as reservoirs of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms. Therefore, full guidelines about the restriction of the cell phone use in the clinical environments, hand hygiene and frequent decontamination of mobile devices are recommended to be applied at early stages in medical schools; to limit the risk of cross-contamination and healthcare-associated infections caused by cell phones.
Accepted Manuscript
Title: Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical
students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Author: Shadi Zakai Abdullah Mashat Abdulmalik
Abumohssin Ahmad Samarkandi Basim Almaghrabi Hesham
Barradah Asif Jiman-Fatani
PII: S2213-879X(15)00094-2
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.jmau.2015.12.004
Reference: JMAU 88
To appear in:
Received date: 3-8-2015
Revised date: 22-12-2015
Accepted date: 28-12-2015
Please cite this article as: Zakai S, Mashat A, Abumohssin A, Samarkandi A,
Almaghrabi B, Barradah H, Jiman-Fatani A, Bacterial contamination of cell phones
of medical students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, J. Microsc.
Ultrastruct. (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmau.2015.12.004
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Page 1 of 13
Accepted Manuscript
Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical
students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia.
Shadi Zakai1, Abdullah Mashat2, Abdulmalik Abumohssin2, Ahmad
Samarkandi2, Basim Almaghrabi2, Hesham Barradah2 and Asif Jiman-Fatani1,3
1Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King
Abdulaziz University.
2 Medical Students, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University.
3 Clinical and Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, King Abdulaziz University
Hospital.
Telephone: 00966-12-6400000 Ex: 21080
Mobile: 00966-533439501
Address: Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology
Faculty of Medicine
King Abdulaziz University
PO Box: 80205
Jeddah: 21589
Saudi Arabia
E-mail: szakai@kau.edu.sa
Number of Figures: 2
Number of References: 23
Number of Authors: 7
Arabic title page: Cannot provide
Arabic abstract: Cannot provide
The authors disclose that this article has not been presented in any
scientific conferences.
Disclosure of benefit: The authors have no conflict of interests and
the work was not supported by any drug company.
The authors declare that this work has been approved by the Unit of
Biomedical Ethics at the Faculty of medicine, King Abdulaziz
University.
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Accepted Manuscript
Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical
students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia.
Abstract:
Cell phones are commonly used in healthcare setting for quick communication within
hospitals. Concerns have been increased about the use of these devices in hospitals, as
they can be used everywhere even in toilets. Therefore, they can be vehicles for
transmitting pathogens to patients. This study aimed to examine the presence of
pathogenic bacteria on the surfaces of cell phones that are used frequently by medical
students at pre-clinical years. This cross-sectional study identified both pathogenic
and non-pathogenic bacteria from cell phones of 105 medical students at King
Abdulaziz University, using standard microbiological methods. Out of 105 cell
phones screened, 101 (96.2%) were contaminated with bacteria. Normal floras
belonging to Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci (CoNS), were the most abundant
isolates (68%). Seventeen (16.2%) cell phones were found to harbor Staphylococcus
aureus. Gram positive bacilli were isolated from 20 (19%) samples. Viridans
streptococci and Pantoea species were also isolated but at lower levels. Our findings
indicate that cell phones can act as reservoirs of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic
organisms. Therefore, full guidelines about the restriction of the cell phone use in the
clinical environments, hand hygiene and frequent decontamination of mobile devices
are recommended to be applied at early stages in medical schools; to limit the risk of
cross-contamination and healthcare-associated infections caused by cell phones.
Page 3 of 13
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Introduction:
Cell phones have become one of essential devices used for communication in daily
life. The various purposes of their use make them commonly used in almost
everywhere. Medical students and healthcare workers use these phones for quick
communication within hospital settings. Evidence showed that many medical
conditions have been controlled after the innovations of mobile communications (1,
2). These conditions include diabetes (3) and asthma (4), and an increased rates of
vaccinations by travelers reminded by short message service (SMS) (5). However,
one of the most common concerns regarding its heavy use is that they can act as a
vehicle for transmitting pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms (6, 7).
Contamination can spread from outside surfaces to more than 80% of exposed hands
(8).Moreover, a previous study reported that more than 90% of mobile phones of the
healthcare workers are contaminated with microorganisms and over 14% of them
carry pathogenic bacteria that commonly cause nosocomial infections (9).
People rarely disinfect mobile phones and it is cumbersome to clean. As a result,
these devices have the potential for contamination with various bacterial agents (10).
Many researchers have studied cell phone contamination among health care workers
and in the community. However, little work has been reported in our region on
bacterial contamination on cell phones used by medical students. So the present study
aimed to investigate the presence of pathogenic bacteria on cell phones that are
frequently used almost all the time by medical students at pre-clinical years.
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Materials and methods
Study design:
This cross-sectional study was performed during a period of two months from April to
June 2015, at the department of medical microbiology and parasitology, faculty of
medicine, King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A total number
of 105 samples were collected from cell phones of 105 volunteers from medical
students at pre-clinical years at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The
examined samples were collected from mobile phones of second and third-year
medical students who were asked to complete a written questionnaire for data
collection. The questionnaire included variables such as the use of mobile phones in
toilets, the use of disinfectants to clean the surface of the cell phone, and the use of
mobile phone at work. Also, a written informed consent was signed by the students
prior to sample collection. The study was approved by the Unit of Biomedical Ethics
at the Faculty of medicine, KAU.
Sample collection:
Samples were obtained from cell phones of all participants using sterile cotton swabs.
Prior to sample collection, swabs were moistened in sterile water and were rotated
over the front screen and the back of the cell phones. All swabs were immediately
inoculated into Amies transport media (Amies®, Copan, Italy) and processed within
one hour. Swabs were then inoculated onto fresh brain-heart infusion (BHI) broth and
incubated overnight at 37°C with aeration at 190 rpm. A subsequent culture was
carried out on blood and MacConkey agar plates, and incubated aerobically at 37°C
for 18 hours.
Bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility:
Single colonies grown on both blood and MacConkey agar plates were tested using
standard microbiological methods. Briefly, single colonies were tested using colonial
morphology, Gram stain, and catalase test. A slide coagulase test (Microgen Staph,
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Microgen Bioproducts Ltd, Camberley, UK) was used to differentiate Staphylococcus
aureus from other coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS).
Further antimicrobial susceptibility tests were carried out for Staphylococcus aureus
isolates to test their methicillin susceptibility, using 1 µg oxacillin and 30 µg cefoxitin
(Oxoid Limited, Hampshire, UK) placed on Muller-Hinton agar. The zones of
inhibitions were measured and interpreted according to the Clinical and Laboratory
Standards Institute (CLSI) (12).
Statistical analysis:
Statistical data analysis was carried out using SPSS version 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago,
IL, USA). Using one-way ANOVA test, the means of all bacterial isolates were
compared to determine the significant abundance of each organism. Grouping of
results was based on variables included in the questionnaire, and the type of
organisms found.
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Results and discussion:
In this study, 105 volunteers from medical students at pre-clinical years at the Faculty
of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia were involved. From
each volunteer, one sample was obtained from the surface of their cell phones
(n=105). Sixty two (59%) participants use cell phones in toilets, whereas the
remaining 43 (41%) participants do not use cell phones in toilets. The questionnaire
also revealed that all participants (100%) use their cell phones at work at least once a
day, and 71 (67.6%) cell phones had never been cleaned by their holders (Figure 1).
The percentage of bacterial contamination of the tested cell phones was 96.2%, in
which the most abundant bacterial isolates found were normal floras belonging to
Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci (CoNS), which counted more than 68% of the
total tested samples. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 17 (16.2%) samples.
Gram positive bacilli were isolated from 20 (19%) samples. Viridans streptococci and
Pantoea species were also isolated but at lower levels (Figure 2).
Although most cell phones tested were contaminated with one or more
microorganism, contamination with S. aureus was found in 17 cell phones. This
number represents a high percentage of contamination with this pathogenic organism
that is commonly found in toilets (11). Nevertheless, according to our statistical data
analysis, there was no statistical correlation between the use of cell phones in toilets
and the presence of S. aureus (p=0.085). Evidence from previous studies revealed that
about 20% of cell phones belong to doctors and nurses are contaminated with
pathogenic bacteria (13-15). Given the fact that medical students will be directly
exposed to healthcare setting, mobile devices belonging to this group may act as
transmission vehicles of infections to patients if these devices are not cautiously used.
The concern about cell phones contamination in medical settings is increased due to
the possibility of cross-contamination of these devices that act as an environmental
reservoir and sources of bacterial cross-contamination, particularly in the most
sensitive clinical areas such as operation theatres, intensive care units and burn units
(7, 16). A crucial part of patient safety is the reduction of the bio-transfer potential of
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these objects, especially to susceptible patients (17). Thus, it is suggested to involve
medical students at early stages to training programs in patient safety, to increase their
awareness about infection transmission, prevention and control in medical
environments before they are exposed to clinical work.
Two-third of the cell phones examined in our study have never been decontaminated.
This rate is slightly less than previously reported studies, which show that 80 – 92%
of staff, have never decontaminate their cell phones (9, 14, 18). One of the most
recommended methods of decontamination is cleaning the cell phone with 70%
alcohol, which showed a significant decrease in the amount of bacterial contaminants
(7, 13-15, 18-20).
Education of medical students can be a part of healthcare staff educational programs
in infection control, which may help in increasing awareness of transmission of
pathogenic organisms from colonized areas of healthy individuals to susceptible
patients. Continuous visual reminders such as leaflets and posters about cell phone
restrictions and hand hygiene can be included in good infection control practice
methods. Although hand hygiene is one of the basic infection control measures, many
authors strongly recommend further focus on this issue, providing more evidence
about its importance in this context (7, 9, 14, 19-23).
The ability of pathogens found in cell phones to survive on the surface, the survival
time and the risk of transmitting these pathogens to patients should be examined.
Therefore, more studies are required to guarantee that they are aligned with the
guidelines on infection control; in order to decrease the potential of transmitting
pathogenic organisms found in cell phones.
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Conclusion:
Cell phones are commonly used in almost everywhere in the community and in
healthcare environments. Our findings indicate that these phones used by medical
students can act as transmission vehicles for both pathogenic and non-pathogenic
organisms. Therefore, it is suggested to offer training programs at early stages in
medical schools on guidelines about the restriction of the cell phone use in the clinical
environments, increasing awareness of hand hygiene and frequent decontamination of
mobile devices, in order to decrease the risk of cross-contamination caused by these
devices in clinical settings. Additionally, more studies are required to assess the
efficacy of the above strategies in decreasing bacterial contamination and limiting
infection transmission caused by the use of cell phones.
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Figure 1: Behavioral distribution of cell phone usage among medical students at
KAU.
Figure 2: Percentages of bacterial isolates found in cell phones of medical
students.
A
)
B
)
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Acknowledgement:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Hani Shukri, Supervisor of the Clinical and
Molecular Microbiology Laboratory at King Abdulaziz University Hospital for his
kind assistance in samples processing and bacterial identification. Also, the authors
thank Dr. Mahmoud Abdulkhaleq from the Faculty of Pharmacology at KAU and Mr.
Hani Yousif from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology at KAU
for their valuable supports during the practical work.
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... Reports state that the rate and type of discovered bacteria on mobile computing devices (MCD) may differ depending on the clinical setting and the country of study (Brady et al., 2006;Goldblatt et al., 2007;Jeske et al., 2007;Brady and Blair, 2005). Many studies have been showed cell phone contamination with pathogen bacteries, Gram -negative patogens (Brady et al., 2009), Acinetobacter sp (Brady et al., 2009;Pillet et al., 2016), Pseudomonas spp (Brady et al., 2009;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018) Virus RNA (Pillet et al., 2016), Coagulase-negative staphylococci , Staphylococcus aureus (Pillet et al., 2016;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018;Shadi Zakai, 2016), Viridans streptococci and Pantoea (Shadi Zakai, 2016), Gram-positive bacilli (Rasti et al., 2016) Klebsiella pneumoniae ,Escherichiacoli (Hosseini Fard et al., 2018;Daoudi et al., 2017), Candida (Kordecka et al., 2016), Enterobacteriaceae,extended-spectrum β-lactamase (Loyola et al., 2016), Enterococcus Faecalis, (Pillet et al., 2016;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018), aeruginosa (Pillet et al., 2016). These studies have be done in different countries among varied people like : HCWs, patients , preclinical medical students , dental and engineering schools, As in the dentistry, environment contact with contaminated blood and saliva is very common and it is considered as one of the most polluted working environments, we decided to study the type and rate of common bacteria in Iran, and determine their differences among students, professors and medical staff. ...
... Reports state that the rate and type of discovered bacteria on mobile computing devices (MCD) may differ depending on the clinical setting and the country of study (Brady et al., 2006;Goldblatt et al., 2007;Jeske et al., 2007;Brady and Blair, 2005). Many studies have been showed cell phone contamination with pathogen bacteries, Gram -negative patogens (Brady et al., 2009), Acinetobacter sp (Brady et al., 2009;Pillet et al., 2016), Pseudomonas spp (Brady et al., 2009;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018) Virus RNA (Pillet et al., 2016), Coagulase-negative staphylococci , Staphylococcus aureus (Pillet et al., 2016;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018;Shadi Zakai, 2016), Viridans streptococci and Pantoea (Shadi Zakai, 2016), Gram-positive bacilli (Rasti et al., 2016) Klebsiella pneumoniae ,Escherichiacoli (Hosseini Fard et al., 2018;Daoudi et al., 2017), Candida (Kordecka et al., 2016), Enterobacteriaceae,extended-spectrum β-lactamase (Loyola et al., 2016), Enterococcus Faecalis, (Pillet et al., 2016;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018), aeruginosa (Pillet et al., 2016). These studies have be done in different countries among varied people like : HCWs, patients , preclinical medical students , dental and engineering schools, As in the dentistry, environment contact with contaminated blood and saliva is very common and it is considered as one of the most polluted working environments, we decided to study the type and rate of common bacteria in Iran, and determine their differences among students, professors and medical staff. ...
... Some studies found Staphylococcus Aureus contamination as our study but the rate of contaminations are different, due the varied method and material and the site of investigation (Pillet et al., 2016;Hosseini Fard et al., 2018;Shadi Zakai et al., 2016;Heba and Amani, 2015;Kotris et al., 2017). ...
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Objectives : The study examined the rate and type of microbial contamination of mobile phones of students, professors, and medical staff of the Faculty of Dentistry of Tabriz University of medical sciences. Materials and Methods: 160 participants were selected among the professors, students and medical staff of the faculty of dentistry. The samples were taken from mobile phones and the dominant hands using a wet sterilized swab, and the bacterial isolation and identification were performed following the cultivation. The results were reported as frequency to examine the type of bacteria in hands and phones and the number of bacteria and frequency of use of the phone were examined using mean and standard deviation and frequency-percentage of the results. Washing hands after using the phone was stated by using the information captured from the questionnaires. Results:Microbial contamination in mobile phones was proven in 97.5% of cases. The type of microorganism cultivated from phones was epidermis in 44% of the cases, staphylococcus aureus in 19.5%, both epidermis and aureus in 25.5% of the cases, and other microbes in 8.8% of the cases. There was contamination in the hands of everyone. The type of microorganism cultured from people's hand was 1.3% epidermis, 5% staphylococcus aureus, and 93.7% both epidermis and aureus. The number of microbes both in mobile phones and the hands of people was directly related to the number of conversations and the number of SMS sent (P<0.05). Examining washing hand after using mobile phones showed that in 78.1% of the cases, people do not wash their hands after conversations. Conclusion: According to the results, in most of the cases, the mobile phones and the hands of teachers, students and medical staff of the Faculty of Dentistry of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences were contaminated.
... Coagulase negative bacteria were also the most common isolates and others such as Pantoea spp. were also isolated at lower levels [21]. This correlation reveals that CoNS contaminate the mobile phones at the highest rate. ...
... Further, to compare the number of microbial contaminations in the samples taken before and after disinfection, we used 70% alcohol-based wipes, which is one of the most recommended method to reduce the rate of microbial contamination [21]. There have been different trials with various disinfectants such as chlorhexidine digluconate and triclosan, evernet spray (98%) (100% herbal ingredient + free from acids and alcoholic substances) to reduce the degree of bacterial contamination [310]. ...
... In accordance with the results, the questionnaire forms revealed that the participants in adolescent ages had lack of knowledge on proper disinfection procedures, as the majority of the group (62%) used alcohol free wet wipes or dry wipes to disinfect their mobile phones. A similar result was obtained through a study with medical students of the same age group (68%) in Saudi Arabia [21]. The high rate of microbial contamination and the lack of consciousness of the population about disinfection procedures emphasize the necessity of educations on universal disinfection protocols and maintaining hand hygiene practices among dental students in Northern Cyprus. ...
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Introduction: Mobile phones are dynamic source of microorganisms in households and professional settings. The aim was to determine the prevalence of bacterial contamination of the mobile phones, identify bacterial isolates, assess their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns and define the efficiency of using disinfectant. Methodology: This study included 233 dental students from Near East University, Faculty of Dentistry. Swab samples taken from mobile phones before and after disinfection were inoculated onto 5% sheep blood medium and eosin methylene blue medium and incubated aerobically at 37°C for 24-48 hours. Mold-growing mix cultures were sub-cultured on the sabouraud dextrose medium and allowed to grow at room temperature. Conventional microbiological techniques and VITEK 2 automated identification system were used for bacterial identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Antibiotic susceptibility tests were verified by Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion technique according to the European Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test Committee criteria. Mold colonies were identified macroscopic and microscopically according to their phenotypic properties using lacto-phenol cotton blue stain. Results: Microbial contamination of mobile phones was 81% (120.953 cfu/ml) in swab samples taken without using alcohol-based wipes however, microbial contamination in swab samples taken after one-time disinfection was determined to be 21% (201 cfu/ml). The most common microorganisms isolated were coagulase negative Staphylococci (69%) and Aspergillus niger (13%). All of the isolated bacteria were susceptible to all antibiotics used. Conclusions: This study represents the first data on the rate of microbial contamination on mobile phones in Northern Cyprus and the efficiency of the use of alcohol to disinfect the mobile phones.
... In this work, the contamination by S. aureus of health sciences students' MP was studied. In a manner consistent with similar studies, we found MP contaminated by S. aureus [11,12,45,46]. ...
... The percentage of contamination with S. aureus of the MP of the group of 1st-year health science students whom we analyzed was lower than the one registered by another study (77.8%) [11]. In contrast, we only found a percentage of contamination of 9.5%: this finding is more consistent with other studies that registered lower contamination ranging from 3.4% to 16.2% [12,13,45]. These differences in the percentages of contamination might be due to various factors, especially environmental ones. ...
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The widespread use of mobile phones (MP) among healthcare personnel might be considered as an important source of contamination. One of the most pathogenic bacteria to humans is Staphylococcus aureus, which can be transmitted through the constant use of MP. Nevertheless, which specific type of strains are transmitted and which are their sources have not been sufficiently studied. The aim of this study is to determine the source of contamination of MP and characterize the corresponding genotypic and phenotypic properties of the strains found. Nose, pharynx, and MP samples were taken from a group of health science students. We were able to determinate the clonality of the isolated strains by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and spa gene typing (spa-type). Adhesin and toxin genes were detected, and the capacity of biofilm formation was determined. Several of the MP exhibited strains of S. aureus present in the nose and/or pharynx of their owners. methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (HA-MRSA), and community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) strains were found, which indicated a variety of genotypes. This study concludes that MP can be contaminated with the strains of S. aureus present in the nose and/or pharynx of the owners; these strains can be of different types and there is no dominant genotype.
... Studies show that hand washing is the simplest and most effective method to reduce contamination [20] . Currently, mobile phones are considered as a potential carrier of pathogenic bacteria [21] ; however, 86% of the students still used their mobile phones during rotations, and only 29% clean them after rotations. CoNS belong to Staphylococci genera and are part of the human normal flora, mainly inhabiting the skin; however, they can colonize the upper respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, the genitourinary tract, and mammary glands leading to serious infections associated with healthcare facilities and the community [22] . ...
... [23] revealed the isolation rate of CoNS and S. aureus from students' hands as 32% and 68%, respectively. A study of students' mobile phones produced almost the opposite results as regards bacterial species [21] . Regarding the stethoscopes, a study from Spain that was conducted by clinicians and nurses showed that CoNS was isolated from the diaphragms at a rate of 97% and S. aureus at a rate of 5% [24] . ...
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Introduction: This study aimed to investigate the antibiotic susceptibility of bacterial contamination that is present on stethoscopes, mobile phones, and hands along with the level of self-reported cleaning practices among medical students. Materials and Methods: Eighty-seven swabs from stethoscopes, mobile phones, and hands were collected from volunteering medical (n=66, 75.8%) and nursing students (n=21, 24.2%) in a hospital environment. The swabs were collected and transported to the microbiology laboratory and cultured on appropriate media. The isolated bacteria were identified as per standard microbiological procedures. Results: Five bacterial species were isolated and identified. The highest contamination was found on hands (37%), mobile phones (32%), and stethoscopes (31%). Isolates were highly resistant to most tested antibiotics. Only seven (8%) students cleaned their stethoscopes between patients and more alarmingly, 33 (38%) did not clean their stethoscopes at all, and 58 (67%) did not know how to effectively clean their stethoscopes. The current study revealed a gap between the students’ knowledge and their proper hygienic practice in hospitals. Conclusion: The hands are a major source of pathogenic bacteria and have higher bacterial contamination than stethoscopes and mobile phones. It highlights the need for increasing awareness among students and healthcare professionals about the importance of disinfecting medical devices, mobile phones, and hands in hospitals.
... It can be associated with a probable change in the behaviour of people, both health professionals and other groups. In the available publications [10][11][12]15,19,30,[47][48][49][50][51] the respondents were mainly adult healthcare professionals and students of health sciences. It is valuable to gain knowledge of the behaviour associated with the use of touchscreen devices, including smartphones, in groups not related to health care, which may be of particular importance, especially in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
... The obtained distributions show that while some dependencies can be modelled with linear distributions, others cannot. This means that the adopted approach is different comparing approaches used by other authors where the answers to the survey questions are binary or have three or four options [11,12,15,23,30,[47][48][49]51]. The essence of the work is that the entire questionnaire was prepared in such a way that practically all the questions allow obtaining distributions for almost all responses. ...
Current issue like the COVID-19 pandemic show how elementary knowledge and hygiene behaviours are important for ordinary people. Microbiological hazards, not just viruses, can be transmitted in various ways through touch screens. For ordinary users, there is a wide range of behaviours that affect the ability to transfer microbial hazards (viruses, bacteria and fungi). The purpose of the paper is to analyse the association between knowledge and behaviour of touch screen users based on surveys. This paper presents selected results of a survey conducted at the end of 2019 (pre-COVID-19 survey). The survey was conducted on a group of 172 IT school students. The relationship between responses using a 2D linear model regression and clustering is used. Most respondents believe that bacteria were more common than viruses on touch screens. The respondents declare altruism in terms of a greater willingness to lend their smartphone, rather than to use someone else's. An interesting result is that respondents often lend their smartphone to others, while being aware that viruses or bacteria are present on the touch screens. The results can be used in terms of changes in the education process of smartphone users in relation to microbiological hazards.
... Staphylococcus aureus was the most predominant isolate (with 27%). Zakai et al (2016); (Zakai et al., 2016) reported that 101 (96.2%) samples were contaminated with bacteria; which was more than the present study findings. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most abundant isolates (68%) in their study. ...
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Studies have reported that multiple contaminated surfaces play an important part in spreading diseases including mobile phones. Cell phones act as a medium by which bacterial pathogens are transmitted- either from phone to phone or from the hand of user to mobile phone; resulting in exchange of microbial flora. This study was carried out to assess the amount of bacterial contamination among mobile phone users who are mothers and handle kids below 6 years of age. The aim of the present study was to assess the presence of different microbial species for contamination among mothers with children <6 years of age using different mobile phones in Raichur. A cross sectional study was carried out among 60 mothers in Raichur city of Karnataka. The sterile swab was used to collect samples and transferred to the laboratory for assessment. Among the 60 study subjects, all of them did not know that micro-organisms spread from their body parts to mobile phone. No one was advised by the doctor on ill effects of mobile phone usage during pregnancy and none cleaned their phones regularly with any chemical disinfectant. Half of the microbes identified was Coagulase negative species.
... Mobile phones are used by medical, dental, and healthcare workers in healthcare settings for speedy communication, and worries about their use in these settings have grown, owing to the increased risks of cross-contamination. Zakai et al. [3] observed a 96.2% bacterial contamination level on tested cell phones, and the most abundant isolates were coagulase-negative staphylococci (from > 68% of the total samples), followed by S. aureus and gram-positive bacilli. Cell phones used in the setting of dental procedure-related surfaces are more likely to become cross-contaminated with pathogens through the large volume of generated aerosols and splatter. ...
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Cell phones are used by almost everyone and have become an integral part of our daily life. They are an almost universal instrument for gathering and transmitting information. The amount of bacteria crawling on a typical cell phone has been a point of contention, although studies show that they contain at least 10 times the amount of bacteria found on most toilet seats. As medical workers in hospital and clinic settings, we use our cell phones extensively, for paging, texting, calling, and recreational activities; thus, the risk of contamination by pathogens is a legitimate issue. Cell phones in the operating room may give patients the impression that they are not the main priority or the center of care, in addition to being a potential source of infection. Cell phones also have been found to be the number-one productivity killer in workplaces, amongst a long list of other distractions. All workers must be fully aware of their Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance responsibilities and obligations, including the protection of health information, while using their cell phones at workplaces. On clinic or hospital grounds, reasonable diligence and strict adherence to cell phone policies may help us maintain greater safety, productivity, and professionalism, resulting in better service for our patients.
... Hence proved that 70% isopropyl alcohol is the most effective cleaning agent. Zakai et al., [49] stated that mobile phones can act as reservoirs of both pathogenic and nonpathogenic organisms and therefore strict guidelines must be incorporated in hospital setups like restriction on the use of mobile phones in clinical environments; to maintain proper hand hygiene, and frequent decontamination of mobile devices are recommended at an early stage in medical schools, to limit the risk of cross-contamination and healthcare-associated infections caused by cell phones. Therefore, the spread of nosocomial infections through mobile phones of healthcare workers can be inhibited by maintaining personal and hand hygiene [37]. ...
... Health care workers in critical areas as Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and Operating Rooms (ORs) where the chance of HCAIs is greatly increased are highly exposed to microorganisms, and their MPs may act as vehicles for spreading these microorganisms wherever they are taken along 7 . As these areas are main sites for HCAIs, this makes a great need for increasing the awareness about cross contamination by MPs as a vector and how to avoid such risk in these areas 8 . So, this study was designed to evaluate HCWs' mobile phones as a potential vehicle for spreading pathogens in hospital sittings and the reducing effect of different disinfectants on them. ...
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Background: As Mobile Phones (MPs) aren’t cleaned routinely and have been touched during patient’s examination, they may become contaminated with hospital pathogens. Objectives: Screen MPs of Health care workers (HCWs) for pathogens and verify the effect of disinfectants in their decontamination. Methods: A questionnaire was submitted by 160 HCWs in Tanta University Hospitals. Samples were taken from their MPs and subjected to pour plate counting before and after disinfection. Standard identification and antibiotic susceptibility of isolates were done. Results: Colony count was greater in MPs used while caring for patients or inside restroom, and was less in regularly cleaned MPs. All tested disinfectants reduced the colony count significantly. Pathogens were isolated from 84.38% of samples and 36.25% of them were Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDROs). Conclusion: Using MPs at critical care areas and restroom may contribute to their contamination with pathogens. Regular disinfection of MPs can reduce this contamination.
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All members of medical staff, including students, were asked to participate in a self-administered questionnaire concerning patterns of mobile phone use and care. Participants' phones were cultured for microorganisms. Healthcare professionals working in close proximity to sensitive equipment were surveyed concerning adverse events associated with mobile phones. Telephone operators were asked to monitor time elapsed as they attempted to contact medical staff by various methods. Of 266 medical staff and students at the time of the study, 116 completed questionnaires (response rate ¼ 44%). Almost all (98%) used mobile phones: 67% used their mobile phones for hospital-related matters; 47% reported using their phone while attending patients. Only 3% reported washing their hands after use and 53% reported never cleaning their phone. In total, 101 mobile phones were cultured for microorganisms ; 45% were culture-positive and 15% grew Gram-negative pathogens. The survey of staff working in close proximity to sensitive equipment revealed only one report of minor interference with life-saving equipment. Telephone operators were able to contact medical staff within 2 min most easily by mobile phone. Mobile phones were used widely by staff and were considered by most participants as a more efficient means of communication. However, microbial contamination is a risk associated with the infrequent cleaning of phones. Hospitals should develop policies to address the hygiene of mobile phones.
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This study aimed at investigating the microbial contamination of mobile phones in a hospital setting. Swab samples were collected from 40 mobile phones of patients and health care workers at the Alexandria University Students' Hospital. They were tested for their bacterial contamination at the microbiology laboratory of the High Institute of Public Health. Quantification of bacteria was performed using both surface spread and pour plate methods. Isolated bacterial agents were identified using standard microbiological methods. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was identified by disk diffusion method described by Bauer and Kirby. Isolated Gram-negative bacilli were tested for being extended spectrum beta lactamase producers using the double disk diffusion method according to the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute recommendations. All of the tested mobile phones (100%) were contaminated with either single or mixed bacterial agents. The most prevalent bacterial contaminants were methicillin-resistant S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci representing 53% and 50%, respectively. The mean bacterial count was 357 CFU/ml, while the median was 13 CFU/ml using the pour plate method. The corresponding figures were 2,192 and 1,720 organisms/phone using the surface spread method. Mobile phones usage in hospital settings poses a risk of transmission of a variety of bacterial agents including multidrug-resistant pathogens as methicillin-resistant S. aureus. The surface spread method is an easy and useful tool for detection and estimation of bacterial contamination of mobile phones.
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Hospital-associated infections are an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in veterinary patients. With the emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria, these infections can be particularly difficult to eradicate. Sources of hospital-associated infections can include the patients own flora, medical staff and inanimate hospital objects. Cellular phones are becoming an invaluable feature of communication within hospitals, and since they are frequently handled by healthcare personnel, there may be a potential for contamination with various pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of contamination of cellular phones (hospital issued and personal) carried by personnel at the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSP was isolated from 1.6% (2/123) and MRSA was isolated from 0.8% (1/123) of cellular phones. Only 21.9% (27/123) of participants in the study indicated that they routinely cleaned their cellular phone. Cellular phones in a veterinary teaching hospital can harbour MRSP and MRSA, two opportunistic pathogens of significant concern. While the contamination rate was low, cellular phones could represent a potential source for infection of patients as well as infection of veterinary personnel and other people that might have contact with them. Regardless of the low incidence of contamination of cellular phones found in this study, a disinfection protocol for hospital-issued and personal cellular phones used in veterinary teaching hospitals should be in place to reduce the potential of cross-contamination.
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Mobile phones are indispensable accessories both professionally and socially but they are frequently used in environments of high bacteria presence. This study determined the potential role of mobile phones in the dissemination of diseases. Specifically, 400 swab samples from mobile phones were collected and divided into groups categorized by the owners of the phones as follows: Group A was comprised of 100 food vendors; Group B, 104 lecturers/students; Group C, 106 public servants; and Group D, 90 health workers. Samples were cultured and the resulting isolates were identified and subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility tests by standard procedures. The results revealed a high percentage (62.0%) of bacterial contamination. Mobile phones in Group A had the highest rate of contamination (92; 37%), followed by Group B (76; 30.6%), Group C (42; 16.9%), and Group D (38; 15.3%). Coagulase negative Staphylococcus (CNS) was the most prevalent bacterial agent from mobile phones in Group A (50.1%) and least from phones in Group D (26.3), followed by S. aureus. Other bacterial agents identified were Enterococcus feacalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella spp. There was no statistical significance difference (P < 0.05) in the occurrence of S. aureus, the most frequently identified pathogenic bacterial agent isolated from the mobile phones in the study groups. Fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporin were found to be effective against most isolates. Mobile phones may serve as vehicles of transmission of both hospital and community-acquired bacterial diseases. Strict adherence to infection control, such as hand washing, is advocated.
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Innovation in mobile communication technology has provided novel approaches to the delivery of healthcare and improvements in the speed and quality of routine medical communication. Bacterial contamination of mobile communication devices (MCDs) could be an important issue affecting the implementation of effective infection control measures and might have an impact on efforts to reduce cross-contamination. This review examines recent studies reporting bacterial contamination of MCDs, most demonstrating that 9-25% of MCDs are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. We examine previously investigated risk factors for MCD contamination in addition to work on surface decontamination of the device. Recommendations to reduce contamination risks include staff education, strict hand hygiene measures, guidelines on device cleaning and consideration of the restrictions regarding use of mobile phone technology in certain high risk areas, for example, operating theatres, intensive care units and burns units. Further work is required to evaluate the benefit of such interventions on MCD contamination and to determine whether a link exists between contamination and subsequent patient infection.
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We assessed the bacterial contamination of the pagers of healthcare personnel and the efficacy of disinfection with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Microorganisms were isolated from all pagers; 21% yielded Staphylococcus aureus, of which 14% were methicillin resistant. Cleaning with alcohol reduced the total colony count by an average of 94%. Bacterial load varied by healthcare worker group and service assignment.
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EDITOR—The main reason why asthma is suboptimally controlled in many young people is that the medicine (inhaled drugs) and the message (education) do not reach their intended target—the lung and the brain. Doctors try to make young people comply with treatment while young people try to make the disease comply with their lifestyle. 1 2 We set up a mobile phone text message service consisting of daily reminders to use an inhaler, health education tips, …