Comparison of keypads and touch-screen mobile phones/devices as potential risk for microbial contamination

  • Mehmet Koroglu Sakarya University School Of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
  • Selami Gunal İnönü University School Of Pharmacy, Malatya, Turkey
  • Fatma Yildiz Malatya State Hospital, Malatya, Turkey
  • Mehtap Savas Malatya State Hospital, Malatya, Turkey
  • Ali Ozer İnönü University School Of Medicine, Malatya, Turkey
  • Mustafa Altindis Sakarya University School Of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
Keywords: Mobile phones, touch-screen mobile phones, keypad mobile phones, microbial contamination, healthcare workers

Abstract

Introduction: Touch-screen mobile phones/devices (TMPs/Ds) are increasingly used in hospitals. They may act as a mobile reservoir for microbial pathogens. The rates of microbial contamination of TMPs/Ds and keypad mobile phones (KMPs) with respect to different variables including use by healthcare workers (HCWs)/non-HCWs and the demographic characteristics of users were investigated.

Methodology: A total of 205 mobile phones/devices were screened for microbial contamination: 76 devices belonged to HCWs and 129 devices belonged to the non-HCW group. By rubbing swabs to front screen, back, keypad, and metallic surfaces of devices, 444 samples were collected.

Results: Of 205 mobile phones/devices, 143 (97.9%) of the TMPs/Ds and 58 (98.3%) of the KMPs were positive for microbial contamination, and there were no significant differences in contamination rates between these groups, although TMPs/Ds had significantly higher microbial load than KMPs (p <0.05). The significant difference in this analysis was attributable to the screen size of mobile phones ≥ 5”. Microbial contamination rates increased significantly as phone size increased (p <0.05). Higher numbers of coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CNS) were isolated from KMPs than TMPs/Ds (p = 0.049). The incidence of Enterococcus spp. was higher on the KMPs of HCWs, and methicillin resistant CNS was higher from the TMPs/Ds of non-HCWs (p <0.05). Isolation of CNS, Streptococcus spp. and Escherichia coli was higher from the TMPs/Ds of HCWs (p <0.05).

Conclusions: We found no significant difference between TMP/Ds and KMPs in terms of microbial contamination, but TMP/Ds harboured more colonies and total microbial counts increased with screen size.

Author Biographies

Mehmet Koroglu, Sakarya University School Of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
MD, Associate Professor
Selami Gunal, İnönü University School Of Pharmacy, Malatya, Turkey
Assistant Professor
Fatma Yildiz, Malatya State Hospital, Malatya, Turkey
MD, microbiology specialist
Mehtap Savas, Malatya State Hospital, Malatya, Turkey
Biologist
Ali Ozer, İnönü University School Of Medicine, Malatya, Turkey
MD, Associate Professor
Mustafa Altindis, Sakarya University School Of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
MD, PhD, Professor
Published
2015-12-30
How to Cite
1.
Koroglu M, Gunal S, Yildiz F, Savas M, Ozer A, Altindis M (2015) Comparison of keypads and touch-screen mobile phones/devices as potential risk for microbial contamination. J Infect Dev Ctries 9:1308-1314. doi: 10.3855/jidc.6171
Section
Original Articles