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Am. J. Biomed. Sci. 2015, 7(1), 26-32; doi: 10.5099/aj150100026
Received: 8 January 2015; | Revised: 4 February 2015; | Accepted: 19 March 2015


Bacteria Associated with the Mobile Phones of Medical Personnel


S. E. Amala* and I. F. Ejikema

Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

+Corresponding Author

Amala, Smart E.

Department of Medical Laboratory Science

Rivers State University of Science and Technology

Nkpolu Oroworukwo

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

E-mail:  smart.amala@yahoo.com



A total of 300 mobile phones owned and used by medical personnel from University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt (UPTH) were examined for the presence of bacteria by culture method, 50 mobile phones from non medical personnel were used as control. The collection of samples were carried out by the consents of the mobile phone owners. The percentage prevalence of isolated bacteria on the mobile phones of medical personnel was 80.60% and the percentage prevalence of bacteria isolated from the mobile phones of non medical personnel was 25.00%. The percentage prevalence of bacteria on the mobile phones of the medical professional groups examined were:- Medical doctors 72.9%., Pharmacists 82%., Nurses 80%., Medical laboratory scientists 87.50%, Medical Record personnel 80% respectively. The overall percentage occurrences of isolated bacteria from phones of medical personnel were: Coagulase negative Staphylococci 35.3%., Staphylococcus aureus 20.7%., Streptococcus spp. 14.3%., Pseudomonas aeruginosa 6.0%., and E. coli 4.3% respectively. For the non medical personnel; Coagulase negative Staphylococci 20%, Staphylococcus aureus 10%; Streptococcus spp. 10%, Pseudomonas 6.0 % and E. coli 4.0% respectively. Decontamination of 50 mobile phones that showed heavy growth with 70% isopropyl alcohol rendered the phones bacteria free on repeat culture. The percentage prevalence rate of bacteria on mobile phones by gender revealed that the mobile phones of the males haboured more bacteria 88.6% than those of their females counterparts 72.6% for health personnel; whereas the non medical personnel, males had 32.0% and females 18.8%. The presence of bacteria associated with human infections on mobile phones of medical personnel may suggest that they serve as medium of transmitting these hospital acquired bacteria.

Keywords: Bacteria; associated; mobile phones; medical personnel.

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