Microbial contamination of cellular mobile devices used by medical staff and healthcare workers (HCWs) in Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq
Background: Mobile phones are widely used non-medical portable electronic devices. The uses of mobile phones occur in hospital wards, Consultation clinic, laboratories, and pharmaceutical warehouse and also in operation rooms. Over the past decade, mobile phones have become an essential accessory in our social and professional life. The mobile phones of health care workers harbor many harmful pathogens which serve as a reservoir for nosocomial infections.
Aims: We aimed to investigate Microbial contamination for cellular mobile devices used by medical staff and healthcare workers in Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, and detection of microbes that cause these contaminations, whether bacterial, fungal or parasitic.
Materials and Methods: Samples were collected from mobile devices of 16 physicians, 23 residents, 18 interns, 10 pharmacists and 35 nurses. Three sterile swabs moistened with sterile saline and each was rotated over the surface of both sides of the mobile phones.
Results: Out of 102 mobile samples of medical staff in Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital evaluated, growth was observed in 80 samples (78.4%) and the remaining 22 (21.6%) were sterile. Eight species of Bacteria were isolated, 35(34.3%) Staphylococcus epidermidis, 29 (28.4%) Staphylococcus aureus, 13(12.7%) Escherichia coli, 8(7.8%) Klebsiella spp, 7(6.9%) Streptococcus pyogenase, 6 (5.9%) Proteus mirabilis, 4 (3.9%) Bacillus spp and 3 (2.9%) Pseudomonas aeroginosa. There were fungal isolates as follows: 6 (5.88%) Candida spp, 4 (3.92%) Aspergillus spp, 3 (2.9%) Mucor spp, based on mycelia, color and spores. Eggs & cysts of parasite haven’t seen under microscope. The highest rates of single growth was 13 (12.7%) reported among Resident, while the higher percentage of single growth recorded in General Surgery department. There were statistical relations between microbial growth and gender, profession and department of healthcare workers.
Conclusions: The current study showed that 78% of 102 samples taken from mobiles of medical staff in Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital in Baghdad city, were contaminated by several microbes, most of which belonged to the natural flora of the human body as well as airborne fungi and soil. So it is necessary to sterilize your hands after contact with cell phones as an important source for the transfer of these microbes.