- Cancer Biology & Biomarkers
- Chromatography & Mass Spectrometry
- Contract Research, Clinical Trials and Outsourcing
- Drug Discovery
- Drug Targets
- Flow Cytometry
- Informatics & Lab Automation
- Ingredients, Excipients and Dosages
- Microbiology & RMMs
- NIR, PAT & QbD
- Raman Spectroscopy
- Screening, Assays & High-Content Analysis
- Thermal Processing
- Events & Workshops
Study finds mobile phones used by hospital staff harbour viruses
21 June 2016 • Author: Victoria White, Digital Content Producer
In clinical settings, are doctors and nurses unwittingly exposing vulnerable patients to a potential source of infection just by tapping their touch screen?
Previous studies have already shown that the surfaces of mobile phones harbour nosocomial bacteria. Now, a study by Sylvie Pillet from the Laboratory of Infectious Agents and Hygiene at the University Hospital of Saint-Étienne in France reveals that mobile devices are often also contaminated by viral RNA.
The research team sampled mobile phones and hospital cordless phones used daily by 114 healthcare workers at the University Hospital of Saint-Étienne in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, France. Swabs were frozen immediately after collection and a one-step reverse transcription and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was later used to amplify any viral genetic material captured. Specific assays determined the presence of RNA from potentially epidemic respiratory viruses (influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus) and the common enteric viruses rotavirus and norovirus.
Healthcare workers also filled out a detailed questionnaire to enable the team to understand more about when and where each phone was used. Results of the questionnaire and the molecular tests were analysed using blinding to avoid bias.
Viral RNA present on 38.5% of devices
Viral RNA was present on 38.5% of the devices; the most prominent contamination was from rotavirus RNA (39 of 109 devices) with respiratory syncytial virus RNA present on three phones and human metapneumovirus RNA on only one. No viral RNA from norovirus or either of the two influenza viruses was detected. The report cautions that the sample size was small and not sufficient to demonstrate any correlation between the presence of viral RNA and a quantifiable risk of nosocomial transmission of viral infection.
“The majority of healthcare workers (64%) used their mobile phones during patient care, which was expected. However, it was surprising that 20% of them admitted never carrying out any hand hygiene procedures, either before or after using their phone, even though all said they knew phones could harbour pathogens,” commented Elizabeth Botelho-Nevers. Many healthcare professionals did not carry out any hand hygiene procedures even if using a mobile phone while making physical contact with patients.
Botelho-Nevers says the findings should “encourage hospitals to step up hand hygiene protocols and to institute better protocols for cleaning and disinfecting both mobile phones and hospital phones.”
ABB Analytical Measurement ACD/Labs ADInstruments Ltd Advanced Analytical Technologies GmbH Analytik Jena AG Astell Scientific Ltd B&W Tek Bachem AG Bibby Scientific Limited Bio-Rad Laboratories BioNavis Ltd Biopharma Group Black Swan Analysis Limited Butterworth Laboratories Ltd CAPSUGEL NV Charles Ischi AG | Kraemer Elektronik Cherwell Laboratories CI Precision Cobalt Light Systems Coulter Partners CPC Biotech srl Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA DiscoverX Edinburgh Instruments Enterprise System Partners (ESP) Eurofins BioPharma Product Testing EUROGENTEC F.P.S. Food and Pharma Systems Srl GE Analytical Instruments IDBS JEOL Europe L.B. Bohle Maschinen + Verfahren GmbH Lab M Ltd. LabWare Linkam Scientific Instruments Limited MA Business Metrohm Molins Technologies Multicore Dynamics Ltd Nanosurf New England Biolabs, Inc. Ocean Optics Panasonic Biomedical Sales Europe B.V. PerkinElmer Inc ReAgent Russell Finex Limited Source BioScience Takara Clontech Tornado Spectral Systems Tuttnauer Viavi Solutions, Inc Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group Wickham Laboratories Limited Xylem Analytics YMC Europe GmbH Yusen Logistics