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Keypad mobile phones are associated with a significant increased risk of microbial contamination compared to touch screen phones

Pal, P; Roy, A; Moore, G; Muzslay, M; Lee, E; Alder, S; Wilson, P; ... Kelly, J; + view all (2013) Keypad mobile phones are associated with a significant increased risk of microbial contamination compared to touch screen phones. Journal of Infection Prevention , 14 (2) 65 - 68. 10.1177/1757177413475903. Green open access

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Abstract

The use of mobile phones in the clinical environment by healthcare workers has become widespread. Despite evidence that these devices can harbour pathogenic micro-organisms there is little guidance on how to reduce contamination. Recently touchscreen phones with a single flat surface have been introduced. We hypothesise that bacterial contamination of phones used in hospitals will be lower on touchscreen devices compared to keypad devices. Sixty seven mobile phones belonging to health care workers were sampled. The median colony count for touchscreen phones and keypad devices was 0·09 colony forming units (cfu)/cm2 (interquartile range (IQR) 0.05–0·14) and 0·77 cfu/cm2 (IQR range 0·45–3.52) respectively. Colony counts were significantly higher on the keypad phones (Fisher’s exact test p<0.001). Multivariate analysis showed the type of phone (keypad vs. touch screen) was associated with increased colony counts (F-statistic 14.13: p<0.001). Overall, nine (13%) phones grew either meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin resistant enterococci. Eight (24%) keypad phones were contaminated with these organisms compared with one touch screen phone (3%). Our data indicate that touchscreen mobile phones are less contaminated than their keypad counterparts, and they are less likely to harbour pathogenic bacteria in the clinical setting.

Type: Article
Title: Keypad mobile phones are associated with a significant increased risk of microbial contamination compared to touch screen phones
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1757177413475903
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757177413475903
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1469514
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