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MRSA found on hospital visitors’ phones20th of June 2011
Mobile phones belonging to hospital patients and visitors are twice as likely to carry dangerous pathogens as those of healthcare staff, a study has revealed.
And seven patient phones tested in the study were found to contain multi-drug-resistant pathogens such as MRSA. No such pathogens were found on mobile phones belonging to hospital staff.
Scientists from Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey, collected swab samples from the keypad, microphone and earpiece of 200 mobile phones belonging to medical staff, patients and hospital visitors.
Nearly 40 per cent of the patients' phones were found to be positive for pathogens - including MRSA and E.coli - compared with 20.6 per cent of those belonging to healthcare staff.
"Our findings suggest that the mobile phones of patients, patients' companions and visitors represent a higher risk of nosocomial pathogen colonisation than those of healthcare workers," the study's authors write.
They claim that the worrying findings suggest that specific infection control measures may be required to counteract this threat.
"The low socioeconomic status of the patients and their awareness about hospital hygiene were possible reasons for the colonisation of multidrug-resistant pathogen on their mobile phones," add the authors. "In addition to medical personnel, infection control professionals must consider patients' mobile phones as a potential source of infection.