par Lynn Shapiro
, Writer | March 10, 2009
Cell phones belonging to hospital staff were found to be tainted with bacteria -- including the drug-resistant MRSA superbug -- and may be a source of hospital-acquired infections, according to a recent study.
Researchers from the Ondokuz Mayis University in Turkey led by Fatma Ulger tested the phones and dominant hands of 200 doctors and nurses working in hospital operating rooms and intensive care units.
Ninety-five percent of the mobile phones were contaminated with at least one type of bacteria, with the potential to cause illness ranging from minor skin irritations to deadly disease.
Nearly 35 percent carried two types of bacteria, and more than 11 percent carried three or more different species of bugs, the study found.
Banning phone use in hospital settings is not practical since they are often used for work in emergencies, the authors say. The study was published in the March 6 issue of BioMed Central's Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.