African Journal of Microbiology Research
Subscribe to AJMR
Full Name*
Email Address*

Article Number - 9748E1D66175


Vol.11(35), pp. 1371-1378 , September 2017
DOI: 10.5897/AJMR2017.8639
ISSN: 1996-0808



Full Length Research Paper

Isolation of bacteria from mobile phones before and after decontamination: Study carried out at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



Noof Refat Mohd Helmi
  • Noof Refat Mohd Helmi
  • Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Google Scholar
Razina Mohd. Qamar Zaman
  • Razina Mohd. Qamar Zaman
  • Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Google Scholar







 Received: 11 July 2017  Accepted: 28 August 2017  Published: 21 September 2017

Copyright © 2017 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0


Different fomites which are in regular contact with humans can play an important role in the transmission of microorganisms. Mobile phones have become indispensable in all walks of life; nevertheless their potential role in transmission of infections is of great interest. A cross-sectional study was done (April to June, 2015) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Faculty of Medicine (female campus), in order to detect the prevalence of bacterial contamination of mobile phones by students and staff, to investigate the most frequent habits associated with the use of mobile phones and effective cleaning of mobile phones with 70% alcohol for decontamination. A total of 168 swabs from 84 mobile phones derived from 80 volunteers were sampled at random. At the same time during sampling, a self-administered questionnaire was developed. All 84 mobile phones sampled were contaminated with bacteria, before decontamination. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were isolated frequently (32.3%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (18.1%), viridans streptococci (15.7%), Bacillus spp. (13.4%) and Corynebacterium spp. (11.8%). Gram-negative bacilli and other Gram-positive cocci were also isolated but at lower levels. Mobile phones belonging to students had the highest rates of contamination (65.35%), followed by doctors (47%) and administrators (8.67%). Whilst, the lowest rate of bacterial contamination (5.5%) was observed among laboratory technicians, McNemar's analysis indicated that decontamination with 70% alcohol significantly decreased the rate of contamination from 100 to 47.6% (P<0.000). This study shows that all mobile phones examined were heavily contaminated with bacteria and the use of 70% alcohol for decontamination was effective in reducing bacterial colonization on these devices. Educating users on hygiene practices while using either mobile phones or other fomites in daily life aspects can help to reduce cross-transmission with microorganisms.

Key words: Medical campus, mobile phones, bacteria, decontaminations, hygiene, contamination, Saudi Arabia.

Akinyemi K, Atapu A, Adetona O, Coker A (2009). The potential role of mobile phones in the spread of bacterial infections. J. Infect. Dev. Ctries. 3(8):628-632.
Crossref

 

Al-Abdalall A (2010). Isolation and identification of microbes associated with mobile phones in Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia. J. Family Commun. Med. 17(1):11-14.
Crossref

 
 

Arora U, Devi P, Chadha A, Malhotra S (2009). Cellphones a modern stayhouse for bacterial pathogens. JK Sci. 11(3):127-129.

 
 

Barer M (2002). Bacterial growth and physiology. In: Greenwood D, Slack R, Peutherer J (eds.) Medical Microbiology. A Guide to Microbial Infections: Pathogenesis, Immunity, Laboratory Diagnosis and Control. 16th ed. Churchill Livingstone, London, 37.

 
 

Beer D, Vandermee B, Brosnikoff C, Shokoples S, Rennie R, Forgie S (2006). Bacterial contamination of health care workers' pagers and the efficacy of various disinfecting agents. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 25(11):1074-1075.
Crossref

 
 

Brady R, Wasson A, Stirling I, McAllister C, Damani N (2006). Is your phone bugged? The incidence of bacteria known to cause nosocomial infection on healthcare workers' mobile phones. J. Hosp. Infect. 62(1):123-125.
Crossref

 
 

Brooks GF, Carroll KC, Butel JS, Morse SA, Mietzner TA (2013). Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology. 26th ed. McGraw-Hill Medical. New York, 175.

 
 

CLSI (2012). Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing, Vol. 32, Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, Wayne, Pa, USA, Twenty-second informational supplement, M 100-S22.

 
 

El-Ashry M, El-Sheshtawy N (2015). Mobile phones are silent threat. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. Appl. Sci. 4(11):199-205.

 
 

Elkholy M, Ewees I (2010). Mobile (cellular) phones contamination with nosocomial pathogens in intensive care units. Med. J. Cairo Univ. 78(2):1-5.

 
 

Elmanama A, Hassona I, Marouf A, Alshaer G, Abu Ghanima E (2015). Microbial load of touch screen mobile phones used by university students and healthcare staff. J. Arab Am. 1(1):1-18

 
 

Engelkirk P, Engelkirk J (2011). Burtons Microbiology for the Health Sciences. 9th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

 
 

Gashaw M, Abtew D, Addis Z (2014). Prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of bacteria from mobile phones of health care professionals working in Gondar Town Health Centers. ISRN Public Health, pp. 1-6.
Crossref

 
 

Goldblatt JG, Krief I, Klonsky T, Haller D, Milloul V, Sixsmith DS, Srugo I, Potasman I (2007). Use of cellular telephones and transmission of pathogens by medical staff in New York and Israel. Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 28(4):500-503.
Crossref

 
 

Heyba M, Ismaiel M, Alotaibi A, Mahmoud M, Baqer H, Safar A, Al-Sweih N, Al-Taiar A (2015). Microbiological contamination of mobile phones of clinicians in intensive care units and neonatal care units in public hospitals in Kuwait. BMC Infect. Dis. 15:434.
Crossref

 
 

Ilusanya O, Adesanya O, Adesemowo A, Amushan N (2012). Personal hygiene and microbial contamination of mobile phones of food vendors in Ago-Iwoye Town, Ogun State, Nigeria. Pak. J. Nutr. 11(3):276-278.
Crossref

 
 

Itah AY, Ben AE (2004). Incidence of enteric bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus in day care centers in Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria. Southeast Asian J. Trop. Med. Public Health. 35(1):202-209.

 
 

Jayalakshmi J, Appalaraju B, Usha S (2008). Cellphones as reservoirs of nosocomial pathogens. J. Assoc. Physicians India. 56:388-389.

 
 

Julian T, Singh A, Rousseau J, Weese JS (2012). Methicillin-resistant staphylococcal contamination of cellular phones of personnel in a veterinary teaching hospital. BMC Res. Notes 5:193.
Crossref

 
 

Karabay O, Kocoglu E, Tahtaci M (2007). The role of mobile phones in the spread of bacteria associated with nosocomial infections. J. Infect. Dev. Countries. 1:72-73.

 
 

Kawo AH, Musa AM (2013). Enumeration, isolation and antibiotic susceptibility profile of bacteria associated with mobile cellphones in a university environment. Nig. J. Basic Appl. Sci. 21(1):39-44.
Crossref

 
 

Kawo H, Adam S, Abdullahi A, Sani N (2009). Prevalence and public health implications of the microbial load of abused Naira notes. Bayero J. Pure and Appl. Sci. 2(1):52-57.

 
 

Kilic IH, Ozaslan M, Karagoz ID, Zer Y, Davutoglu V (2009). The microbial colonisation of mobile phone used by healthcare staffs. Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 12:882-884.
Crossref

 
 

Kumar P, Aswathy ML (2014). Identification of mobile phone associated pathogens. Kerala J. Orthop. 27(1):69-72.

 
 

Mark D, Leonard C, Breen H, Graydon R, O'Gorman C, Kirk S (2014). Mobile phones in clinical practice: reducing the risk of bacterial contamination. Int. J. Clin. Pract. 68(9):1060-1064.
Crossref

 
 

Oluduro AO, Ubani EK, Ofoezie IE (2011). Bacterial assessment of electronic hardware user interfaces in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Rev. Cienc. Farm Basica. Apl. 32(3):323-334.

 
 

Ovaca A, Rednak B, Torkar K, JevŠnik M, Bauer M (2012). Students' mobile phones –how clean are they? Int. J. Sci. Eng. Res. 6(1):6-18.

 
 

Rogers K, Fey P, Rupp M (2009). Coagulase- negative staphylococcal infections. Infect. Dis. Clin. North Am. 23(1):73-98.
Crossref

 
 

Roth RR, James WD (1998). Microbial ecology of the skin. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 42:441-464.
Crossref

 
 

Roy CR, Kataria VK, Dhand M, Mahawal S, Samwal PR (2013). A surveillance study of bacterial flora associated with mobile phones in a tertiary care hospital. Int. J. Biom. Adv. Res. 4(1):56-58.
Crossref

 
 

Rusin P, Maxwell S, Gerba C (2002). Comparative surface-to-hand and fingertip-to mouth transfer efficiency of Gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria and phages. J. Appl. Microbiol. 93(4):585-592.
Crossref

 
 

Sadat-Ali M, Al-Omran AK, Azam Q, Bukari H, Al-Zahrani AJ, Al-Turki RA, Al-Omran AS (2010). Bacterial flora on cell phones of health care providers in a teaching institution. Am. J. Infect. Control. 38(5):404-405.
Crossref

 
 

Selim HS, Abaza AF (2015). Microbial contamination of mobile phones in a health care setting in Alexandria, Egypt. GMS Hyg. Infect. Control 10:Doc03. doi:10.3205/dgkh000246.

 
 

Sgro M, Shah PS, Campbell D, Tenuta A, Shivananda S, Lee SK (2011). Early-onset neonatal sepsis: Rate and organism pattern between 2003 and 2008. J. Perinatol. 31(12):794-798.
Crossref

 
 

Singh S, Acharya S, Bhat M, Rao S, Pentapati K (2010). Mobile phone hygiene: potential risks posed by use in the clinics of an Indian dental school. J. Dent. Educ. 74(10):1153-1158.

 
 

Soto R, Chu L, Goldman J, Rampil I, Ruskin K (2006). Communication in Critical Care Environments: Mobile Telephones Improve Patient Care. Anesth. Analg. 102(2):535-541.
Crossref

 
 

Tagoe DN, Gyande VK, Ansah EO (2011). Bacterial contamination of mobile phones: When your mobile phone could transmit more than just a call. Webmed. Central Microbiol. 2(10):1-9.

 
 

Ulger F, Esen S, Dilek A, Yanik K, Gunaydin M, Leblebicioglu H (2009). Are we aware how contaminated our mobile phones with nosocomial pathogens. Ann. Clin. Microbiol. Antimicrob. 8:7-12.
Crossref

 
 

Zakai S, Mashat A, Abumohssin A, Samarkandi A, Almaghrabi B, Barradah H, Jiman-Fatani A (2016). Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. J. Microsc. Ultrastruct. 4(3):143-146.
Crossref

 

 


APA Zaman, R. M. Q., & Helmi, N. R. M. (2017). Isolation of bacteria from mobile phones before and after decontamination: Study carried out at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 11(35), 1371-1378.
Chicago Razina Mohd. Qamar Zaman and Noof Refat Mohd Helmi. "Isolation of bacteria from mobile phones before and after decontamination: Study carried out at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia." African Journal of Microbiology Research 11, no. 35 (2017): 1371-1378.
MLA Razina Mohd. Qamar Zaman and Noof Refat Mohd Helmi. "Isolation of bacteria from mobile phones before and after decontamination: Study carried out at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia." African Journal of Microbiology Research 11.35 (2017): 1371-1378.
   
DOI 10.5897/AJMR2017.8639
URL http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJMR/article-abstract/9748E1D66175

Subscription Form