The present study attempts to identify and determine the pattern of drug susceptibility of the microorganisms present in mobile phones of health care workers (HCWs) and non-HCWs in a hospital environment. Mobile phones of 100 participants including both genders were randomly swabbed from nine different wards/units and the bacterial cultures were characterized using VITEK 2 system.


Forty-seven mobile phones were culture positive and a total of 57 isolates were obtained which consisted of 28 Gram-positive organisms and 29 Gram-negative organisms. The predominating organisms were Acinetobacter baumannii and Staphylococcus hominis. Among all the isolates from the mobile phones of HCW and non-HCWs, five isolates had ESBL and three isolates had colistin resistance. Incidentally, MRSA was not found on the mobile phones tested. The isolated organisms showed 100% susceptibility to linezolid, daptomycin, vancomycin, imipenem, meropenem, gentamicin, amikacin, ciprofloxacin and tigecycline, while high resistance was shown against benzylpenicillin (75.0%), cefuroxime and cefuroxime axetil (56.5%). Non-HCWs’ mobile phones were more contaminated as compared to HCWs (P = 0.001) and irrespective of individuals’ gender or toilet habits, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms were present on the mobile phones.


This study reports for the first time that the mobile phones of non-health care workers harbour more bacterial diversity and are more prone to cause transmission of pathogens. This study can

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serve to educate the public on personal hand hygiene practices and on maintaining clean mobile phones through antiseptic measures.

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Citation:   Sailo, C.V., Pandey, P., Mukherjee, S. et al. Trop Med Health (2019) 47: 59. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41182-019-0190-5