Isolation and Identification of Bacteria on Mobile Phones among Mechanics, Civil Servants, and Food Handlers in Imo State, Nigeria

  • M. O. Nwachukwu Department of Biology, Medical Entomology and Parasitology Unit, Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State Nigeria
  • S.N Nmezi Department of Biology, Medical Entomology and Parasitology Unit, Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State Nigeria
  • L. A. Adjeroh Department of Biology, Medical Entomology and Parasitology Unit, Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State Nigeria
  • J. N. Azorji Department of Biological Sciences, Hezekiah University Umudi, Imo State Nigeria
  • P. C. Onyebuagu Department of Human Physiology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State Nigeria
Keywords: Mobile phones, Users, Pathogens, Drug-resistant, Nigeria


This study seeks to identify the counts and types of bacteria contaminating mobile phones used by randomly selected mechanics, civil servants, and food handlers within Owerri, Imo state. The investigation was on the antimicrobial resistance profiles of the isolates. Three hundred (300) questionnaires were distributed, of which 221 were returned in which swab samples were collected from their mobile phones using swabs moistened with sterile normal saline from an area of 3cm over mobile phone surfaces. Samples were cultured and processed by standard Microbiological procedures. Out of 221 mobile phones sampled, 147 were contaminated with bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus was the most predominant isolate followed by Bacillus cereus, Streptococcus sp., Klebsiella sp., and Proteus vulgaris. Mobile phones belonging to mechanics 81(55.10%) had the highest number of types of bacterial contamination followed by food handlers 41(27.89%) while the least was civil servants 25(17.01%). Antimicrobial susceptibility results showed that Gentamycin (22.44%) had the highest susceptibility pattern while Erythromycin (0%) had the least. This study, therefore, revealed that cell phones may have a notable role in the transmission of pathogens as well as multidrug-resistant pathogens.


Download data is not yet available.


Akinyemi, O., Atapu, D., Adetona, O. & Coker A. The Potential Role of Mobile Phones in the Spread of Bacterial Infections.Journal of Infection in Developing Countries, 2009, 3(8):628-632.

Alex-Hart, B. &Opara, P.. Hand Washing Practices Amongst Health Workers in A teaching Hospital. American Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2011, 7(1), 8.

Arora, U., Devi, P., Chadha, A. &Malhotra S.. Cell phones A modern Stay house For Bacterial Pathogens. Journal of medical education and research Science, 2009, 11(3), 127–129.

Auhim, H. Bacterial Contamination of Personal Mobile Phones in Iraq.Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences, 2013, 3(4), 2652-2656.

Bhat, S., Hegde, S. &Salian S. Potential of Mobile Phones to Serve as A reservoir in Spread of Nosocomial Pathogens. Online Journal Health Allied Sciences, 2011, 10(2), 14.

Bhoonderowa, A., Gookool, S. &Biranjia-Hurdoyal S. The Importance of Mobile Phones in The Possible Transmission of Bacterial Infections in The Community. Journal of Community Health, 2014, 39:965-967.

Borer, A., Gilad, J., Smolyakov, R., Eskira, S., Peled, N., Porat, N., Hyam, E., Trefler, R., Riesenberg, K. &Schlaeffer F..Cell phones and Acinetobacter transmission.Emerging Infectious Disease journal. 2005, 11(7), 1160-1161.

Brady, R., Damani, N., McAllister, C., Stirling, I. & Wasson A. Is Your Phone Bugged? The Incidence of Bacteria Known to Cause Nosocomial Infection on Healthcare Workers' Mobile Phones. JournalofHospitalInfection, 2006, 62, 123-125.

Brady, R., Fraser, S., Dunlop, M., Paterson-Brown, S. & Gibb A. .Bacterial Contamination of Mobile Communication Devices in the Operative Environment.Journal of Hospital Infection, 2007, 66(4), 397-398.

Butcher, W. &Ulaeto D. Contact Inactivation of Bacteria by Household Disinfectants. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2005, 99(2), 279-284.

Chawla, K., Mukhopadhayay, C., Gurung, B., Bhate, P. &Bairy I. (2009). Bacterial “Cell” Phones: Do cell phones carry potential pathogens? Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences,8(1), 8.

Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, CLSI. (2005). Performance Standards for antimicrobial disk susceptibility tests; Approved standard, Eight edition.

Ducel, G., Fabry, J. & Nicolle L..Prevention of Hospital-Acquired Infections.Second edition, World Health Organization, Department of Communicable Disease, Surveillance and Response.2002, 4-7.

Elkholy, M. &Ewees, I. (2010).Mobile (Cellular) Phone Contamination with Nosocomial Pathogens in Intensive Care Units.The Medical Journal of Cairo University, 2, 1-5.

Enemuor, S., Apeh, T. &Oguntibeju, O. Microorganisms Associated with Computer Keyboards and Mice in A university Environment. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 2012, 6(20), 4424-4426.

Farr, B., Salgado, C., Karchmer, T. &Sherertz R. Can antibiotic-resistant nosocomial infections be controlled? Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2001, 1(1), 38-45.

French, L., Otter, A., Shannon, P., Adams, M., Watling, D. & Parks J.Tackling Contamination of the Hospital Environment by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): A comparison Between Conventional Terminal Cleaning and Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour Decontamination.Journal Hospital Infection, 2004, 57, 31–37.

Gashaw, M., Abtew D. & Addis Z . Prevalence and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Pattern of Bacteria Isolated from Mobile Phones of Health Care Professionals Working in Gondar Town Health Centers. International Scholarly Research Notices Public Health, 2005.

Glodblatt, J., Krief, I., Haller, T. &Milloul, V. Six-Smith, D., Srugo, I., and Potasman I.Use of Cellular Telephones and Transmission of Pathogens by Medical Staff in New York and Israel.InfectionsControlofHospitalandEpidemiology. 2007, 28, 500-503.

Ilusanya, O., Adesanya, O., Adesemowo, A. &Amushan N..Personal Hygiene and Microbial Contamination of Mobile Phones of Food Vendors in Ago-Iwoye Town, Ogun State, Nigeria.PakistanJournalofNutrition, 2012, 11(3), 276-278.

Ismail, R., Aviat, F., Michel, Le Bayon, I., Gay-Perret, P., Kutnik, M. &Federighi, M. Methods for recovering microorganism from solid surfaces used in the food industry: a review of the literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2013, 10(11) 6169-83.

Jagadeesan, Y., Deepa, M. &Kannagi M. Mobile Phones as Fomites in Microbial Dissemination. International Journal of Current Science, 2013, 5, 6-14

Jumaa, P. Hand Hygiene: Simple and Complex. International Journal Infectious Disease, 2005, 9(1), 3–14.

Kawo, A. & Musa A. .Enumeration, Isolation and Antibiotic Susceptibility Profile of Bacteria Associated with Mobile Cell Phones in A university Environment.NigerianJournal of Basic and Applied Science, 2013, 21(1), 39-44.

Kawo, H., Adam, S., Abdullahi, A. &Sani N. Prevalence and Public Health Implications of the Microbial Load of Abused Naira Notes.Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 2009, 2(1), 52-57.

Kawo, H., Dabai, Y., Manga, S. &Garba, G. Prevalence and Public Health Implications of the Bacterial Load of Environmental Surfaces of Some Secondary Schools in Sokoto, North-western Nigeria.International Research Journal of Microbiology, 201, 3(5), 186-190.

Kennedy, K., Dreimanis, D., Beckingham, W. & Bowden, F. .Staphylococcus aureus and Stethoscopes.The Medical Journal of Australia, 2003, 178(9), 468.

Kilic, I., Ozaslan, M., Karagoz, I., Zer, Y. & Davutoglu ,V. The Microbial Colonisation of Mobile Phone Used by Healthcare Staffs.Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 2009, 12(11), 882-884.

King, D. L., Delfabbro, P. H., Gniffiths, M. D. &Gradisar, M. Cognitive-behavioral approaches to outpatient treatment of interest addiction in children and adolescents. Journal of clinical Psychology, 2012, 68(11), 1185-95.

Kramer, A., Schwebke, I. &Kampf G. How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review.BMC infectious diseases, 2006, 6(1), 130.

Laxminarayan R. &Malani A..Extending the Cure: Policy Responses to the Growing Threat of Antibiotic Resistance. Washington DC. Resources for the Future., 2007, 55-61.

Lee, YeonJoo,Yoo, Chul-Gyu,Lee, Choon-Taek,Chung, HeeSoon,Kim, Young Whan,Han, Sung Koo,Yim& Jae-Joon. Contamination rates between smart cell phones and non-smart cell phones of healthcare workers, 2013, 33-48.

How to Cite
Nwachukwu, M. O., Nmezi, S., Adjeroh, L. A., Azorji, J. N., & Onyebuagu, P. C. (2022). Isolation and Identification of Bacteria on Mobile Phones among Mechanics, Civil Servants, and Food Handlers in Imo State, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques, 10(2), 170-177.
Fast publication process