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The Occurrence of Nosocomial Pathogens on Cell Phones of Healthcare Workers in an Iranian Tertiary Care Hospital

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 3 ]


Reza Khashei*, Hadi Sedigh Ebrahim-Saraie, Mahtab Hadadi, Maysa Ghayem and Hadi Raeisi Shahraki   Pages 327 - 333 ( 7 )


Background: Cell phones have become one of the necessary means of life and they are commonly used almost everywhere by every population. Colonized microorganisms on cell phones can be easily cross-transmitted. Given the widespread prevalence of nosocomial infections, this study aimed to determine the frequency of bacterial contamination and antibiotic resistance in cell phones of healthcare workers (HCWs) in a tertiary care hospital, from southwest of Iran.

In this cross-sectional study conducted between April and June 2016, sampling were performed from cell phones of 25 nurses and 75 medical students.

Methods: Samples were collected from each cell phone by a moistened cotton swap dipped in normal saline prior and after decontamination with available alcohol-based handrubs. Identification of bacterial isolates was performed by conventional microbiologic methods. Antibiotic susceptibility pattern of the isolates was determined using the disk diffusion method.

The contamination rates of cell phones prior and after disinfection were 88% and 52%, respectively. Ninety-nine (71.2%) out of 139 isolated distinct bacterial colonies prior to cleaning were potentially nosocomial pathogens. Of them, staphylococci (88.9%) were the most prevalent bacteria, in which 40.9% were methicillin-resistant isolates. The majority of Gram-positive and - negative isolates were susceptible to the tested antimicrobials. Totally, contamination rate of cell phones was significantly reduced after decontamination. Regular disinfection of the hands and cell phones was significantly associated with reduction of colonization of the methicillin-resistant isolates.

Result & Conclusion: These findings emphasize the restricted use of cell phones and encourage the higher compliance with hygienic practices in hospitals to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections.


Nosocomial infection, cell phone, antibiotic resistance, hand hygiene, pathogen, healthcare.


Department of Bacteriology and Virology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Razi Clinical Research Development Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Department of Bacteriology and Virology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Health, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord

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