Title:What bacteria are present on the mobile phones of students?

Author:Bhumi Tailor, Neha Nikita, Ashley Naicker, Taina Naivalu and Reginald Arvind Jnr. Kumar

Abstract:Background: Mobile phones are an essential component of modern life and used by almost everyone. They are increasingly being used in the hospital setting by health care workers and come in contact with various surfaces around the hospital. Thus, they are likely to get contaminated by a variety of organisms.
Aim: To investigate the colonisation of microorganisms on students' mobile phones at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Fiji National University.
Methods: A sample of 50 swabs were collected from randomly selected individuals' mobiles and cultured on blood agar, MacConkey agar and Sabarauds dextrose agar. Isolation of the organisms was processed according to laboratory standard protocol and each organism was identified.
Results: All 50 of the students' mobile phones showed evidence of bacterial colonisation. The most common bacteria isolated was Bacillus species (82%), followed by Acinetobacter lowffii (26%), coagulase-negative staphylococcus (16%), inactive Escherichia coli (12%), Enterobacter agglomerans (10%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii (8% each), Staphylococcus aureus (6%), Klebsiella pneumonia, Klebsiella oxytoca (2%) and Micrococcus species (2%).
Conclusions: This study revealed that mobile phones are contaminated by microorganisms and may be a vector in spreading nosocomial or community-acquired infections in a hospital setting. In order to combat this issue, proper handwashing, decontamination and infection control procedures should be practised adequately.
Key words: mobile phones, health care workers, bacterial colonization, nocosomial, community-acquired infections.
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