Healthcare workers mobile phone usage: A potential risk for viral contamination. Surveillance pilot study

Yuval Cavari, Or Kaplan, Aviva Zander, Guy Hazan, Yonat Shemer-Avni, Abraham Borer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Mobile phones are commonly used by healthcare workers (HCW) in the working environment, as they allow instant communication and endless resource utilisation. Studies suggest that mobile phones have been implicated as reservoirs of bacterial pathogens, with the potential to cause nosocomial infection. This study aimed to investigate the presence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Adenovirus and Influenza Virus on HCWs mobile phones and to identify risk factors implied by HCWs practice of mobile phones in a clinical paediatric environment. Methods Fifty HCWs’ mobile phones were swabbed over both sides of the mobile phone, for testing of viral contamination during 8 days in January 2015. During the same period, a questionnaire investigating usage of mobile phones was given to 101 HCWs. Results Ten per cent of sampled phones were contaminated with viral pathogens tested for. A total of 91% of sampled individuals by questionnaire used their mobile phone within the workplace, where 37% used their phone at least every hour. Eighty-nine (88%) responders were aware that mobile phones could be a source of contamination, yet only 13 (13%) disinfect their cell phone regularly. Conclusion Mobile phones in clinical practice may be contaminated with viral pathogenic viruses. HCWs use their mobile phone regularly while working and, although the majority are aware of contamination, they do not disinfect their phones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-435
Number of pages4
JournalInfectious Diseases
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Healthcare workers
  • Mobile phone
  • Nosocomial infection
  • Viral infection

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