2018 | Month: | Volume:5 | Issue:3 | Page:106-110

Microbial isolates associated with mobile phones of healthcare providers in a tertiary care hospital

Binoy Kurian, Sayoojya P

Objectives: This study was conducted to determine microbial contamination of mobile phones used by healthcare providers in a tertiary care hospital in Thrissur, Kerala, India and isolate the common microbial contaminants found therein.

Materials & Methods: A total of 100 samples were collected from the mobile phones of medical college hospital staff using sterile cotton swabs. Isolation and identification of bacterial species was done as per the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institutes (CLSI) guidelines.

Results: Out of 100 samples, 26 samples did not show any isolates. Remaining 74 samples showed mixed growth. In that, 51 (68.91%) were Gram positive cocci (GPC- 29.41% were Staphylococcus aureus, 50.98% were CONS, 3.92% were Streptococcus, and 15.69% of Micrococcus), 12 (16.22%) were Gram negative bacilli (GNB- 50% comprised Escherichia coli and 16.67% of Klebsiella spp., 25% Pseudomonas and 8.33% of Acinectobacter), 6 (8.11%) were Gram positive bacilli (GPB) and remaining 5 (6.76%) were fungal isolates(40% of Candida albicans and 60% of non-albicans Candida). Further evaluation of MRSA and MSSA was carried out on Staphylococcus aureus and 20% of isolates comprised of MRSA and 80% of MSSA and furthermore 25% of CONS comprised of MR CONS. About 93% of the users had never cleaned their phones, 5% cleaned their phones using cloth occasionally and only 2% had cleaned their phones more than once in two weeks. Using dry cloth only for cleaning showed 64.86% growth & wet cloth was only 62.16%. Use of 70% isopropyl alcohol showed 18.92% growth, and a combination of wet cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol provided most effective cleaning with growth percentage of only 9.46%.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that mobile devices are potential vectors for transmission of infections within the hospital environment. Restricting the use of cell phones in clinical environments, hand hygiene, and instilling practices for decontamination of mobile devices could reduce the risk of transmission of potentially dangerous pathogens.

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