2 Nov 2012

Cellphones - are they spreading bugs?

10:03 pm on 2 November 2012

Tasmanian researchers are investigating the role of mobile phones in passing bacteria from medical staff to patients.

Patients contract hundreds of thousands of infections each year, accounting for millions of days in hospital, the ABC reports.

Researcher Foong Yi Chaosays staff increasingly use mobile phones in hospitals, but there are no guidelines on cleaning them.

Mr Foong says there are many ways of spreading bacteria, but no-one has looked at transmission through mobile phones.

"I just looked around the hospital one day and saw so many doctors using mobile phones but not necessarily cleaning them often."

Supervisor Dr Kathryn Ogden says bacteria is transmitted in many ways and it is important to find out what role mobile phones play.

"Is this bringing in infection? Our mobile phones don't just stay at the hospital."

Despite strict hand-washing procedures, it is estimated that 200,000 infections are transferred to patients in health care each year.