Isolation and Identification of Common Bacterial Contaminants in Mobile Phones Owned by Veterinary Undergraduate Students

Vivekanandan Annet Viveka


The ability of the microbes to survive on the touch-pads of the smart phone makes it as one of the important fomites in the spread of microorganisms between users. The objectives of this study were to identify the microorganisms present on the touch screens of smart phones, to determine the possible factors that could influence the bacterial contamination of mobile phone surfaces and to study the usage pattern of mobile phones by veterinary undergraduates. The sample of this study included 40 mobile phones owned by veterinary undergraduates representing all four batches (n=10 per batch) with equal proportion of male and female students.The bacteria from touch screens were isolated and identified using conventional bacteriological techniques.At least one or more species of bacteria were found in all 40 mobile phones sampled. Eleven species of bacteria, such as Coagulase negative Staphylococcus spp. (87.5%), Bacillus spp. (60%), Pseudomonas (50%), Coagulase positive Staphylococcus spp.  (22.5%), Klebsiella (22.5%), Acinetobacter (15%), Proteus (12.5%), Staphylococcus aureus (5%), Flavobacterium (5%), Enterobacter (2.5%), Citrobacter (2.5%) and Escherichia coli (2.5%) were identified from the phones sampled.There were no difference in the occurrence of bacterial species in phones obtained from different batches of students (Chi Square Test: P>0.05). The occurrence of Pseudomonas (28.6%) and Bacillus (28.6%) was significantly low (Chi Square Test: P<0.05) in the touch pads that were said to be cleaned regularly. Further, it is evident from this study that the veterinary undergraduates are using modern technology for educational purposes and they are aware of the adverse effects of mobile-phone addiction.It appears the contamination of smart phones with Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria owned by veterinary undergraduate students is widely prevalent and regular cleaning of mobile phones and frequent hand washing might reduce the microbial load on the touch pads of the smart phones.

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