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Who's calling? Bacteria and infection!

Published 17th October, 2016 by Neil Nixon

Who's calling? Bacteria and infection!

Sanondaf UK, a disinfection and decontamination specialist, is warning that new research proves that mobile phones present a high risk of spreading infection. The odds are that anyone reading this article will have checked their smartphone in the last hour, whether they are waiting for a call, an email or are just addicted to Facebook or Twitter.

A survey carried out by the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infection found that mobile phones present a substantial infection risk, with evidence of viruses in 38.5% of devices. The research, undertaken in a French hospital, found that mobile phones used by hospital staff harbour viruses that cause stomach upsets and lung infections. It was also revealed that a fifth of staff did not clean their hands after handling their phones.

Scientists took swabs from mobile and cordless phones used daily by 114 doctors and nurses at Saint-Etienne University Hospital in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, France. The most widespread contamination was from rotavirus, discovered on 39 out of 109 phones, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Respiratory syncytial virus genetic material was found on three phones, and evidence of metapneumovirus was on one. Both of these viruses are associated with lung infections, which in high-risk patients may be severe.

Sanondaf UK's Stuart White said: “These results are quite alarming, and I think will be mirrored across many businesses. The survey found that 64% of workers used their mobile phones during patient care, with 20% of them admitting they had never carried out any hand hygiene procedures, either before or after using their phone. It's something that many of us do not think about, but it's something that businesses need to be aware of, particularly if you are in a caring profession, such as hospitals, care homes or nurseries. Workplace infection can be spread in a variety of different ways, with the best cleaners in the world unable to catch everything. Businesses lose many man hours a year to illness, which equates to a lot of money being wasted. These businesses need to put steps in place now to protect workers from infection.”

Sanondaf is offering all UK businesses a free swab test, including mobile phones. This offer can work in two ways: either a member of the Sanondaf team will come to your workplace and take a few samples, or a swab test kit can be sent out for you to undertake the swab yourself. The samples are then cultured in an incubator and the findings sent back to you in the form of a report.

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