introduction / background

The acquisition of transient bacteria by hand contact with contaminated fomites or surfaces is a critical source of Health care-associated infections. The raise in advanced technological applications of mobile phones is tempting to use this technology to provide good contact between health providers and patients. Cross contamination may occur by the hands after they have touched contaminated mobile phones. The use of mobile phones has a special character among other fomites, as it is used close to many parts of human body. Continuous use of mobile phones in hospitals exposes them to an array of microorganisms, and the skin of palms provides the moisture plus the suitable temperature needed for survival of pathogens. Additionally, the heat coming out from the device itself, in turn, create a perfect surface for growth of many organisms. Hence, they expressed mobile phones being the ‘‘Technological Petri Dishes’’ (1,2).


Screen the mobile phones of HCWs in ORs and ICUs for microbial contamination, with special reference to MDROs. Also, assess the awareness of HCWs towards usage of the mobile phones in the high-risk areas and verify the effectiveness of available disinfectants for reduction of microbial contamination on mobile phone surface.

Materials & Methods

A questionnaire was submitted by 160 Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Operating Rooms (ORs) and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Tanta University Hospitals. Samples were taken from their mobile phones. Each sample was subjected to pour plate counting method before and after disinfection to obtain Aerobic Colony Count (ACC) on Mobile phone surface. Standard microbial identification and antibiotic sensitivity were done. Gram-negative isolates were examined for production of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase and Metallo Beta Lactamase, and Multidrug Resistant Organisms (MDROs) were examined furtherly by VITEK®2 system.


Colony count was significantly higher in mobile phones of HCWs who use them while caring for patients or inside restroom, and was less in mobile phones of HCWs who regularly clean them. All tested disinfectants yielded significant reduction in colony count with no statistical differences between their efficacy. Most of (84.38%) of tested mobile phones were contaminated with pathogens particularly Staphylococci. Multidrug resistant isolates accounted for 36.25% of isolated pathogens and were significantly higher in ICU samples than in OR samples.


Mobile phones can be contaminated with serious MDROs. Using mobile phones at critical care areas or inside the restrooms may contribute to this contamination. Regular cleaning and disinfection of mobile phones can reduce the colony count to significant level thus mitigate this hazard.


1- Manning M Lou, Davis J, Sparnon E, Ballard RM. IPads, droids, and bugs: Infection prevention for mobile handheld devices at the point of care. Am J Infect Control. 2013;41:1073. 2- Koscova J, Hurnikova Z, Pistl J. Degree of bacterial contamination of mobile phone and computer keyboard surfaces and efficacy of disinfection with chlorhexidine digluconate and triclosan to its reduction. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15:22.

acknowledgement / Contact

© 2021. Tanta University. All right reserved.