Original article / research
Cell Phones of Health Care Professionals: A Silent Source of Bacteria
Dr. Kuhu Pal,
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, College
of Medicine and JNM Hospital, WBUHS, Kalyani, Nadia
(District), West Bengal-741235, India.
Introduction: Cell phone has become part and parcel of modern life. To live a life without cell phone is an impossible task for maximum people. Health care providers are also integral part of this era of mobile phones. During various activities linked to health care services health care professionals used to touch their cell phones many a time. Hence, mobile phones are found to be contaminated with various microorganisms.
Aim: To find out bacteriological profile of cell phones used by different categories of health care providers in a tertiary care centre of eastern India and antibiotic resistance pattern of the isolates.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in a tertiary care centre of eastern India during August-September 2013. Swabs from 100 mobile phones belonging to doctors, nurses, ward boys, laboratory technicians, according to the availability were collected. The swabs were processed to isolate and identify the bacteria. Antibiotic sensitivity tests of these isolates were done following Clinical Laboratory Standard Institute guidelines. Data were analysed by Chi square test to determine p value.
Result: Eighty seven percent of cell phones collected from the health care workers were found to be contaminated by 135 isolates comprising of 12 different bacterial species. Coagulase negative Staphylococcus (31.11%) was the most frequently isolated bacteria followed by Staphylococcus aureus (14.7%), Micrococcus sp (14.7%), Bacillus subtilis (13.33%), Pseudomonas sp (6.67%), Diphtheroids (6.67%), Acinetobacter sp (5.93%)etc. Cell phones of laboratory technicians were hundred percent contaminated, followed by nurses (96%), ward-boys (88%) and doctors (70%). Conventional phones with keypads were found more contaminated than touch screen phones. Almost one fifth of S.aureus was found to be methicillin resistant. Amikacin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid were the two most sensitive drugs against gram negative bacteria.
Conclusion: This study confirmed that mobile phones used by the health professionals of this hospital were contaminated with multi drug resistant pathogenic and potential pathogenic bacteria. So the need to improve health consciousness among people while handling mobile phones in the hospital is an urgent issue.
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