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UAE: Mobile phones 10 times dirtier than toilet seats


Photo-CNBC TV18

With the UAE boasting over 17.1 million smartphone users, it's evident that mobile devices have become an indispensable part of everyday life. However, despite their constant use, many individuals overlook the importance of regularly cleaning their phones. Recent research conducted at the University of Arizona has unveiled a startling fact: mobile phones harbor ten times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat.

Corroborating these findings, healthcare experts in the UAE have identified mobile phones as high-touch surfaces susceptible to contamination, particularly in environments like bathrooms and areas where food is prepared. Despite the widespread use of mobile phones across the country, a significant number of people remain unaware of their potential role in transmitting infections.

In a study conducted in Abu Dhabi, residents exhibited relatively hygienic practices concerning mobile phone cleanliness. Swab samples collected from participants' phones were subjected to microbiological analysis, revealing insights into bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility. Additionally, participants provided valuable data through questionnaires, detailing their phone usage habits and cleaning methods. The study, which involved one hundred swabs and corresponding datasets, indicated that the majority of participants (91.1%) reported using wipes and alcohol to clean their phones regularly.

Healthcare professionals emphasize that human skin, personal belongings, and communal items like shisha apparatus contribute significantly to mobile phone contamination. However, adopting proper hand hygiene practices and implementing regular phone cleaning routines could potentially prevent hundreds of thousands of infections annually.

Dr. Nashwa Elsammak, a consultant in internal medicine at Prime Medical Centre AlBarari Branch, warns of the presence of harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E. coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and MRSA on mobile phones. These pathogens, including fecal-derived bacteria, pose serious health risks, particularly for individuals with weakened immune systems. Dr. Elsammak advises removing phone cases and covers before cleaning the device thoroughly with a soft cloth dampened with a disinfectant solution.

Practicing frequent handwashing and incorporating disinfectant wipes into phone cleaning routines are crucial steps in reducing the risk of infection transmission. Additionally, healthcare experts caution against using mobile phones in bathroom environments, where bacteria levels are typically elevated. Dr. Mohamed Shaaban Mousa, a specialist in pulmonology at Saudi German Hospital Sharjah, underscores the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices to mitigate the risk of illness associated with dirty devices.

In conclusion, raising awareness about the potential health hazards posed by unclean mobile phones and promoting proper cleaning techniques can significantly contribute to public health efforts in the UAE. By prioritizing hygiene and adopting preventive measures, individuals can safeguard themselves and others from the transmission of harmful bacteria through mobile devices.


March 18, 2024 12:41 p.m. 8787

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