from Brady RR, Hunt AC, Visvanathan A, Rodrigues MA, Graham C, Rae C, Kalima P, Paterson HM, Gibb AP 2011
published in Clin Microbial Infect 17(6):830-5
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03493.x

Mobile phone technology and hospitalized patients: a cross-sectional surveillance study of bacterial colonization, and patient opinions and behaviours.

Touch screens of electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, tablets) can be a source of contamination.

The study that was conducted in surgical and urological wards of a Scottish hospital examined mobile phone usage by patients and microbial contamination of phone surfaces. For this, a total of 145 patients were surveyed on their opinions and use of mobile phones in hospitals. Afterwards, they provided their mobile phones for microbiological examination. 84.3 % of the mobile phones proved to be positive for microbial contamination. On 11.8 % of the devices bacteria that are known to trigger nosocomial infections were found. 6.9 % of the telephones and 31.4 % of the nasal swabs showed to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. The author’s recommendations include clear guidelines for the patients on how to use mobile phones in clinical settings including adequate decontamination and hand hygiene measures. In order to prevent transmission of bacteria patients should also be advised not to share their mobile phones with other patients.

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