Cell phones used by patients and visitors contain potentially dangerous bacteria when compared with the phones used by healthcare workers, found in a 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 earpiece.
A total of 200 mobile phones 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 staff's 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.
"The types of bacteria that were found on the patients' mobile phones and their resistance patterns were very worrisome," said the authors.
"Some investigators have reported that MPs of medical personnel may be a potential source of bacterial pathogens in the hospital setting. Our findings suggest that mobile phones of patients, patients' companions and visitors represent higher risk for nosocomial pathogen colonization than those of HCWs. Specific infection control measures may be required for this threat," they concluded.
The study is published in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.