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Friday, March 6, 2009

Mobile phones could spread hospital ’superbugs’

Research released last week by the Ondokuz Mayis University in Turkey has found that mobile phones belonging to hospital staff were contaminated with bacteria. After testing the phones and hands of 200 hospital doctors and nurses, 95% of mobiles were found to be carrying one type of bacterium. Nearly 35% had two types of bacteria, with over 11% carrying at least three types. The Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) strain - a so-called superbug - was found on one in eight of the mobiles. The researchers said common-sense cleaning procedures would reduce the risk, although more studies were needed because of the statistically small size of their sample. Similar findings were reported in the Journal of Hospital Infection in 2006. I think this news story probably sounds more dramatic than it really is; apparently the risk of the bacteria being transmitted to a patient is minimal because they'd be unlikely to use one of the contaminated phones. [Sources: Telegraph.co.uk; AFP via Google]

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