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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 149-153

Microbial contamination on mobile phones of health-care workers at a tertiary care hospital of Northern India

Department of Microbiology, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Iqra Majid
Department of Microbiology, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_22_22

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Background: The use of mobile phones (MPs) in hospital halls, laboratories, intensive care units, and operating rooms is a common practice. There are no proper guidelines for the disinfection of MPs that meet hospital standards. This study investigated the bacterial contamination on MPs of health-care workers employed in tertiary healthcare Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.” Materials and Methods: One-hundred and fifty-five health-care workers (57 doctors, 50 nurses, 35 technical staff, and 21 other employees) were included in a cross-sectional study performed from January 2018 to June 2018 at the SKIMS, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. Social demographic characteristics (such as gender and occupation) and cell phone-related questions were gathered through a self-administered questionnaire (e.g., frequency of MP disinfection and use of the MP at work). Sample collection and processing were done correctly to avoid any bias. Results: Majority (79%) were working in different wards of the institute, followed by (51%) working in different laboratories and (8%) working in intensive care settings. The majority of the participants (42%) said they used their phone less than ten times per day; 33% said they used it 10–20 times/day. In terms of disinfection, 107 (69%) of the participants cleaned their MP occasionally, 31 (20%) never cleansed their phone, and just 17 (11%) regularly disinfected their phone. Out of 155 MPs sampled, 125 (80.6%) showed microbial growth, and 30 (19.4%) were free of microbial growth. Out of the total 125 positive samples, 51 (40.8%) were Gram-positive bacilli (which was considered as airborne contamination), 36 (28.8%) were Gram-positive cocci (GPC), 25 (20%) Gram-negative bacilli, 11 (8.8%) were mixed growth, and 2 (1.6%) were yeasts. Out of 36 GPC, Staphylococcus aureus was predominant, i.e., 15 (41.6%), followed by Enterococcus spp. 12 (33.3%), Coagulase-negative Staphylococci spp. 7 (19.4%), and Streptococci spp. 2 (5.5%). Conclusion: Almost all MPs were contaminated, with more than half of them harboring pathogenic microorganisms. It could pose a significant risk to both health-care personnel and patients in the form of nosocomial infections.

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