Study of Bacterial Contamination of Mobile Phones of Anaesthetists and other Doctors in Surgical Departments During Theatre Sessions
Keywords:Mobile Phones, Bacterial Contamination, Nosocomial Infections, Contamination, HealthCare Workers.
Background: Personal items such as mobile phones are commonly used by doctors working in the operation
theatre. The hands and personal use items of anaesthetic doctors working in the operation theatre may serve
as vectors for transmission of nosocomial pathogens among surgical patients. Our aim was to determine the
mobile phones contamination among anaesthetists working in the operation theatres of anaesthetic doctors.
Method : Forty anaesthetic doctors and other surgical department doctors working in the operation theatres
at Sri Lakshmi Narayana Institute of Medical sciences, puducherry and Bharath Medical college and
Hospital, Chennai were enrolled in the study. Swabs from fingertips and keypads of mobile phones were
taken using moist sterile swabs and plated on Mac Conkey and Blood agar plates. The bacteria isolated were
identified by biochemical tests.
Results: Hand washing was performed by 50% (n=20/40) doctors entering the theatre. 95% (n=38/40)
brought their mobile phone to the theatre and 80% used it at least once during the theatre session. Bacterial
growth was detected from mobile phone swabs. Staphylococci were predominantly cultured from all
the specimens tested. Staphylococci 15%, Methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) 10%,
pseudomonas 5%, coagulase negative staphylococci 15%,pseudomonas 5% and total 50% anaesthetist and
other doctors mobile phones growth were detected.Conclusion: Personal use items of doctors such as mobile phones show a high percentage of bacterial
contamination. Hand washing compliance was moderate among the study population. Thus personal use
items and hands may act as an important source of nosocomial pathogens in the operation theatre settings.
Therefore it is important to encourage higher compliance to hand washing practices and routine surface
disinfection of personal use items brought to the operation theatre.Mobile phone disinfection should be part
of infection prevention protocols in Operation Theatre.