Hospital Study: Cell Phones Carry Dangerous Bacteria

Pages from APIC Sarasota PSheldon 5-2011

The June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control published a study* that found that 39.6 percent of cell phones used by patients and visitors in a hospital carried potentially dangerous germs such as staph bacteria. In contrast, 20 percent of the cell phones of the hospital healthcare workers (HCW) carried pathogens.

Infection Control Today provides the following summary of the study:

A team of researchers from the Department of Medical Microbiology at Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey collected swab samples from three parts of cell phones—the keypad, microphone and ear piece. A total of 200 mobile phones (MPs) were cultured for the study, 67 of which belonged to medical employees and 133 to patients, patients’ companions and visitors. The researchers found that 39.6 percent of the patient group phones and 20.6 percent of HCW phones tested positive for pathogens. Additionally, seven patient phones contained multidrug resistant (MDR) pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multiply resistant gram-negative organisms, while no HCW phones tested positive for MDR pathogens.

“While this study is isolated within healthcare settings, you can imagine how many healthcare workers, patients and visitors leave the healthcare environment with these contaminated devices, and then, through hand contact, create additional risk in our offices, homes and public facilities,” notes Peter Sheldon, Vice President  Operations and Development for Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System.

“This study exemplifies the link between surfaces and the spread of infection in our communities. The proper execution of the Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System® Program breaks this cycle through effective disinfection and removal of dangerous pathogens on surfaces. Through the Coverall® Program, combined with hand hygiene and the education of our franchisees’ customers, we can have a large impact on reducing these risks,” said Peter.

The slide above shows how an organism such as MRSA can be transmitted by means of cell phones.

*Mehmet Sait Tekerekoglu et al., “Do Mobile Phones of Patients, Companions and Visitors Carry Multidrug-Resistant Hospital Pathogens?”

Post Author: Coverall
Coverall is one of the largest franchisors of commercial cleaning business in the world with a global network of over 8,000 Franchised Business Owners servicing more than 40,000 customers.

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