Pathogen carrying capacity of mobile phones of health workers in a teaching hospital

  • OT Afolabi
  • O Olaniran
  • O Olawande
  • OO Aluko
  • OL Fawehinmi
  • AO Fehintola
Keywords: nosocomial, hospital acquired infection, mobile phone, micro-organisms, infection control, hospital


Mobile phones have become indispensable accessories of professional and social life. Micro-organisms that cause hospital acquired infections can be transmitted by handheld devices of hospital personnel. Studies have shown that mobile phones could be a health hazard with tens of thousands of microbes living on each square inch of the phone. This study determined the prevalence of micro-organisms on the mobile phones of health workers and their role as a source of hospital acquired infection.

The study utilised a cross-sectional design. A total of one hundred and eighty swabs were collected from the mobile phones of health workers and subjected to microbiology analysis.

Microbes were cultured in 70% of cell phones, 5% of which had mixed growths. Staphylococcus aureus accounted for 28%, coagulase negative staphylococcus 31% and E. coli 3% of the cultured organisms. Over 90% of Gram positive organisms were sensitive to Gentamicin while 70% of gram negative organisms were sensitive to Gentamicin. Two-fifth of gram positive and one-tenth of gram negative organisms were sensitive to Co-trimoxazole while neither was sensitive to Ampicillin. Only 42% of our respondents disinfect their mobile phones.

Health workers should be sensitized on the need to disinfect their mobile phones regularly.

Keywords: nosocomial, hospital acquired infection, mobile phone, micro-organisms, infection control, hospital


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0794-7410