Hospital Workers Spread 'Superbugs' By Cell Phone

5 years ago
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A study released on Friday demonstrated that cell phones belonging to hospital workers are covered in bacteria including the ‘superbug’, MRSA, the AFP reported.

Experts fear it might become a serious supply of hospital-acquired infections.

After testing the phones and hands of 200 doctors and nurses working in hospital operating rooms and intensive care units, researchers from the Ondokuz Mayis University in Turkey discovered that some 95 % of mobile phones were contaminated with at least one kind of bacteria.

The report, published in BioMed Central’s Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, showed that most of the hospital workers were built with a strong potential to cause illness ranging from minor skin irritations to deadly disease because of cross-contamination.

Researchers, led by Fatma Ulger, found that almost 35 percent of workers carried two kinds of bacteria, and more than 11 percent carried three or more different types of bugs.

The study noted that just a little sample (10 percent) of staff regularly cleaned their phones, even though they washed their hands.

An astounding one inch every eight mobile phones showed traces of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent strain which has claimed the lives of several hospital patients around the world.

The authors warned that mobile phones could act as a reservoir of infection, facilitating patient-to-patient transmission of bacteria in medical environments.

Though harmless to many healthy people, drug-resistant bacteria is often lethal for hospital patients in weakened conditions. The bacteria may cause pneumonia or bloodstream infection by making its way into open wounds through catheters or ventilator tubes.

The study, however, took it’s origin from a little sampling and also the authors acknowledge that more research was needed to confirm their findings.

The report strongly recommended frequent cleaning of phones with alcohol-based disinfectants in addition to continuous use of anti-microbial materials.

It figured banning mobile phone use in hospital settings is probably not practical since the devices are often employed for work in emergencies.

Statistics reveal that MRSA may be the cause of a lot more than 60 percent of all hospital infections in the United States. In 2005, MRSA infected 94,000 people and killed 19,000 within the U.S. alone, according to the Cdc and Prevention.

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