Are healthcare workers’ mobile phones a potential source of nosocomial infections? Review of the literature
Keywords:healthcare workers, mobile phones, bacteria, nosocomial infection, contamination
Mobile communication devices help accelerate in-hospital flow of medical information, information sharing and querying, and contribute to communications in the event of emergencies through their application and access to wireless media technology. Healthcare-associated infections remain a leading and high-cost problem of global health systems despite improvements in modern therapies.
The objective of this article was to review different studies on the relationship between mobile phones (MPs) and bacterial cross-contamination and report common findings.
Thirty-nine studies published between 2005 and 2013 were reviewed. Of these, 19 (48.7%) identified coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), and 26 (66.7%) identified Staphylococcus aureus; frequency of growth varied. The use of MPs by healthcare workers increases the risk of repetitive cyclic contamination between the hands and face (e.g., nose, ears, and lips), and differences in personal hygiene and behaviors can further contribute to the risks.
MPs are rarely cleaned after handling. They may transmit microorganisms, including multiple resistant strains, after contact with patients, and can be a source of bacterial cross-contamination. To prevent bacterial contamination of MPs, hand-washing guidelines must be followed and technical standards for prevention strategies should be developed.
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