Hospital-acquired infections cause an estimated 100,000 deaths

In the U.S. annually and are an increasing threat to patient safety around the world. A new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control points to a possible new source of hospital pathogens – infections: cellphones.

Swabs of the keypad, microphone, and earpiece of 200 cellphones belonging to patients, visitors, and health workers at a small Turkish hospital found disease-causing bacteria on 39.6% of patient phones and 20.6% of worker phones.

Of the phones examined, 133 belonged to patients and their visitors and 67 to health workers.

A bacterium that can cause serious infections in immune-weakened individuals: coagulase-negative staphylococci, was found on 101 patient and visitor phones, and 52 worker phones.

Antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was found on 18 patients and four worker phones. While streptococcus was present on 14 patients and seven worker phones.

E Coli was detected on the phones of five patients and one worker. Patients’ poor understanding of hospital hygiene and low-economic status were cited as possible reasons for the colonization of cellphone bacteria.

Do mobile phones of patients, companions, and visitors carry multidrug-resistant hospital pathogens? To date, no formal study has shown a direct link between bacterial colonization on cellphones and hospital-acquired infections, researchers said.

Have you had your cell phone cleaned for bacteria, E Coli, pathogens, and infections? Is there an app for that?

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