The Medical Use of Touchscreen Technology is a Magnet for Bad Bugs

New research tells us that all touchscreen devices like this one contain pathogens that increase the risk of infection in patients.

Virtually all smartphones and tablet computers used by doctors and nurses are contaminated by pathogens, and therefore the use of these devices increases the risk that patients will contract infections.

So says a study conducted by German researchers and presented last week at the 16th International Congress on Infectious Diseases. As reported in Medscape Medical News, it found that 100 of the 101 smartphones and 19 of the 20 tablets tested were positive for at least 1 pathogen.

Many of the pathogens were bacteria that cause serious infections, including our usual suspects MRSA, Methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Salmonella, and E. Coli.

So you would think that the obvious solution would simply be to regularly clean the devices. In fact, that’s what one of the researchers said we should do: “It’s the same problem as hand hygiene. If you are going to use your phone or device while working, you have to clean it when you go home. Otherwise, it’s a source of infectious contamination.”

Yet this seemingly common sense advice is significantly contradicted by the study’s own data. Because it found that after intense cleaning the number of pathogens on smartphone screens was reduced by only 7.7%, and on tablet screens by 22.2%. No explanation was given for this unexpected result.

One more thing. The study only looked for bacterial pathogens, it did not look for that whole other universe of evil – the viruses.  As one physician put it, “I’m especially interested in influenza so I would be very interested in knowing the levels of influenza virus that might be contaminating these devices.”

So given that touchscreen technology is here to stay – in fact, it is on the rise – where does that leave us?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Staypressed theme by Themocracy