April 4, 2022

Bacterial contamination of HCWs smartphones before, during COVID-19

Editor's Note

This German study finds that bacterial contamination of healthcare workers’ (HCWs’) smartphones can be a source of cross-contamination, and cleaning intensity increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of 295 HCWs (99 in 2012 and 196 in 2021) from 26 wards comprising 19 different specialties included in the analysis, bacterial contamination was present on 293 of 295 smartphone screen.

The proportion of bacterial pathogens (eg, Staphylococcus aureus, enterococci, Enterobacterales, nonfermenting bacteria) ranged from 21.2% in 2012 to 39.8% in 2021. Multidrug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant S Aureus and vancomycin resistant enterococci accounted for less than 2%. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common isolates.

The researches found a significant increase in smartphone use during work from 2012 to 2021, with a simultaneous increase in cleaning intensity (63.4% in 2021 vs 16.2% in 2012), probably because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Behavioral changes related to COVID-19 could have a significant impact on smartphone disinfection by HCWs if implemented sustainably in everyday practice, the researchers conclude.


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