Cellphones completely negate hand hygiene protocols and their cost-effective impact on public health
Research authors argue that such devices are “3rd Hands” and recommend that they should be sanitized regularly with UVC.
New research published in Nature (https://go.nature.com/3B5rDB8) finds that cellphones: 1) are over-crowded with many types of microbes, 2) are infrequently cleaned/sanitized, and 3) warrant robust public health and biosecurity protocols (like UVC sanitization).
Key Research Findings:
· Each of the 26 cellphones of this study was contaminated with microbes with the detection of antibiotic resistance and virulent factors.
· The sum of microbes and genes added together across all 26 cellphones totaled 11,163 organisms (5714 bacteria, 675 fungi, 93 protists, 228 viruses, 4453 bacteriophages) and 2,096 genes coding for antibiotic resistance and virulent factors.
· Survey of medical staff showed that 46% (12/26) of the participants used their cellphones in the bathroom.
Cellphones are vectors of microbes and can contribute to microbial dissemination and nosocomial diseases worldwide. As fomites, cellphones that are not decontaminated may pose serious risks for public health and biosecurity.
Mitigation resides in sanitizing cellphones as frequently as we wash our hands with the adoption of a new technology driven solution like UVC emitting sanitizers. Authors write, “Presence in healthcare facilities of stations that can decontaminate both hands and cellphones will prevent the risks of cross contamination and should be implemented in the five moments of hand washing.”