This study examined bacterial contamination of mobile phones of health care workers (HCW) compared with non healthcare workers (e.g admin staff) at Jimma University Hospital.
A total of 71.2% (94/132) of mobile phones showed evidence of bacterial contamination. Contamination levels were higher among HCW mobile phones A total of 112 bacterial organisms were isolated with 33 Staphylococcus aureus, 61 coagulase negative staphylococci, 12 Bacillus species, 4 Micrococcus species, 1 Serratia species and 1 Klebsiella pneumoniae.
The study showed that 39.40% (13/33) of S. aureus isolates were meticillin resistant of which 38.50% (5/13) were vancomycin resistant. A higher number of MRSA isolates were found on the mobile phones of HCWs compared to non HCWs mobile phones with 6 MRSA from nurses, 2 MRSA from doctors, 2 MRSA from scrub nurses and 1 MRSA from laboratory technologist’s mobile phones. All isolates of S. aureus from surgical wards and more than half of the isolates of S. aureus from ICU, OR and pediatrics wards were MRSA. The majority of vancomycin resistant S. aureus isolates were from the mobile phones of HCWs.Mobile phones of HCWs were more contaminated with MRSA and MRCoNS than non HCWs mobile phones.
None of the study participants washed their hands after mobile phone use and 75.80% (50/66) of the HCWs answered that they used their mobile phones while attending patients. Fifty percent (50%) of HCWs did not wash their hands before attending to their patients. Only 51.50% (34/66) of HCWs and 37.90% (25/66) non HCWs cleaned their mobile phones.
The results illustrate the need for decontamination of mobile phones in health care settings and the community to prevent the spread of resistant organisms.
The report can be downloaded from : Int J Infect Control 2014, v11:i1 doi: 10.3396/IJIC.v11i1.007.15