Bacterial Contamination Associated with Mobile Cell Phones among Undergraduate Students of Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria
Mobile cell phones are extensively used globally. This study was aimed at determining bacterial contamination associated with mobile cell phones among undergraduate students of Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. One hundred swab samples from mobile cell phones were randomly collected from the students’ cell phones between August 2019 and December 2019. Demographic factors like age, gender, mobile phone type, storing of mobile cell phones, cleaning habits and use in toilets were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. The samples were analysed using standard microbiological techniques. The data collected were analysed using percentile and SPSS version 20.0. The value (p<0.01) was statistically considered to have significant associations. Microbial analysis showed that 70 nondisinfected samples were contaminated by eight diverse types of bacteria, which included Escherichia sp., Salmonella sp., Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Staphylococcus sp., Klebsiella sp., Micrococcus sp and Enterobacter sp. The swabbed cell phones of females (56.3%) were more contaminated than those of males (43.7%) with bacterial load count of 41.9 x 103 and 28.8 x 103 CFU/mL among females and males, respectively. The mobile cell phones used in toilets (75.0%) were highly contaminated by bacteria. Users who did not cut their nails had higher contamination (69.4%) than those users who cut their nails (34.3; p = 0.01). The age of mobile cell phones within 6 – 12 months had 55.5% for females and 23.5% for males. This study showed that mobile cell phones harbor bacteria liable for causing health threats to handlers. Therefore, awareness programs concerning hand hygiene and discouraging their use in toilets to avoid causing severe health consequences. The use of disinfectants to wipe mobile cell phones whenever contamination is encountered is advocated to safeguard public health.
Keywords: Mobile Cell Phone, Swabs, Microbes, Contamination