ASSESSMENT OF BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION IN CELLULAR PHONES OF DENTAL PROFESSIONALS WORKING IN A DENTAL INSTITUTION IN BELGAUM CITY – A CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY
Introduction: Today mobile phones have become one of the necessities in social as well as in professional life of dental care providers. Their cellular phones are often touched during or after the examination of patients without hand washing. So they can harbor various potential pathogens causing the risk of their transmission to patients and dental health care workers in the dental care environment. Hence the present study was done to assess the cellular phones of
postgraduate students for microbial contamination.
Objectives: To assess the bacterial contamination of cellular phones used by postgraduate students and to determine the effectiveness of 70% isopropyl alcohol for decontamination.
Methodology: The present study was a descriptive, cross-sectional study. The study group comprised of postgraduate students of KLE VKIDS.A self-administered questionnaire was completed by the consenting participants that consisted of 19 closed ended and 3 open ended questions. Two swabs were taken before and after wiping the cellular phones with 70% isopropyl alcohol. The swabs were then streaked onto blood and MacConkey agar and allowed to incubate for 48 hrs.
Result: Out of 59 participants, 51.2% males and 48.8% females. 76.2% of the participants used cellular phones during clinical hours while 31% even used them between the patients without hand washing/ gloved hands. Significant difference were found between number of colonies before and after cleaning with 70% isopropyl alcohol (p value<0.05)
Conclusion: Cellular phones may act as carrier for cross contamination among patients and dental personnel. Simple cleaning with isopropyl alcohol reduced the microbial load of the cellular phones. Hence it is recommended that dental colleges should develop strict guidelines concerning cell phone use and hygiene.
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