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‘iPads can spread antibiotic-resistant germs’3rd of February 2014
A study by North Dakota researchers has found that iPads and similar devices can transmit germs - including certain types that are resistant to antibiotics.
And the implications of these findings are particularly significant to healthcare since doctors now commonly use tablets for patient charts and accessing reference materials.
The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control by infectious disease specialist Dr Dubert Guerrero and colleagues at two North Dakota universities.
Earlier studies had shown that computers and keyboards - also commonly found in hospital rooms and clinical offices - can spread germs. The study considered various methods of reducing the risk of contamination from tablets.
A damp cloth as recommended by manufacturers was found to remove many types of germs, while alcohol and germocidal wipes were effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. However, only a bleach wipe was able to kill Clostridium difficile, Guerrero's research team determined.
As a result of the findings Guerrero recommends that medical staff practice basic hygiene including frequent hand washing, and that iPads be protected by a non-porous cover that can safely be cleaned with wipes that contain alcohol or bleach. Another option is the use of disposable electronic tablet covers, he says.
And he adds that the screens themselves should be cleaned daily using a microfibre cloth.