Pathogenic Effect of Micro Organisms by the Usage of Mobile Phones


B. Nagamani*, SK. Khyrun Baji, R. Kasi Rao, G.V. Srujana, CH. Ramana Reddy, R. Sridhar

Hindu College of Pharmacy, Amravati Road, Guntur A. P., India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail:,



Mobile phone is part of human accessories and used in every moment in social life but is normally not cleaned properly. They serves as main source of transmission for many pathogenic disorders. The present study seeks to identify the bacteria present on the mobile phones used by 200 volunteer students, Cleaners, Workers and Staff of Hindu college of Pharmacy. The surface of phones were swabbed with sterile sticks and immediately streaked on three plates each of Nutrient agar. The petriplates was incubated in an inverted position at 37oC for 24 hours. Following incubation the microbial colonies were isolated and identified. Thus the purpose of this study was to investigate microbiological colonization on mobile phones and to suggest that the importance of following proper hygiene habits of using phones as they prove to be potential transmission vehicles for microbial populations responsible for several diseases.


KEYWORDS: Mobile phones, Micro Organisms, Disease, Transmission, Hygiene



Mobile phones have become an integral and indispensable part of daily life [1].  Mobile phones are increasingly becoming an important means of communication. The vast majority of mobile phones are handheld [2]. Today, mobile phones have become one of the most indispensable accessories of professional and social life. Although they are usually stored in bags or pockets, mobile phones are handled frequently and held close to the face [3, 4]. Concerns have been increased about the use of these devices in hospitals, as they can be used everywhere, even in toilets. Therefore, they can be vehicles for transmitting pathogens to patients. Due to the ease of using mobile phones and its added applications it is widely used by all strata of people and so we generally overlook the health hazards associated with it. It is a potential carrier of a number of microorganisms. [5]


Research has shown that the mobile phone could be a health hazard with tens of thousands of microbes living on each square inch of the phone Microbiologists say that the combination of constant handling with the heat generated by the phones creates a prime breeding ground for many microorganisms that are normally found on the skin. There is a close relationship between the emission of electromagnetic radiation and the microbial load on the mobile phones. Bacteria absorbing electro-magnetic energy from cell phones also emit these electromagnetic radiations which again form a conducive medium for their growth. Hence cell phones are rightly called as technological petridishes for thousands of worms. And the Micro-organisms can be transferred from person to person or from inanimate objects (such as stethoscopes, bronchoscopes, pagers, ballpoint pens, hospital charts, computer keyboards, mobile phones and fixed telephones) to hands and vice versa. The first study of bacterial contamination of mobile phones was conducted in a teaching hospital in Turkey [6]. In a study conducted in New York were found to isolate pathogenic microorganism [7]. Mobile phones are dispensable accessories in social life but are normally not cleaned properly. A mobile phone can spread infectious diseases by its frequent contact with hands [8]. The increase use of mobile phones is seen as responsible for rise in community infection rates reported by ecological findings [9]. Hand washing may not usually be performed often enough and many people may use personal mobile phone in the course of a working day, Food particles from unclean hands provide good nutrient media for their growth. Sweat from hands and other body parts in a tropical country like ours is another excellent medium for transportation and growth of bacteria. The potential act of mobile phones as a source of microbial transmission is considerable [10]. This work was carried out to investigate the bacterial density from mobile phones of volunteered technologists to examine the potential role of phones in vehicular transmission of pathogenic bacteria.



Study Design:

This cross-sectional study was performed from April 2016 to June 2016, at the Department of Microbiology in Hindu college of Pharmacy, Guntur. A total of 200 samples were collected from the cell phones of 200 volunteer students, Cleaners, Workers and Staff of Hindu college of Pharmacy. They were asked questions like whether they use cell phones in toilets, the use of disinfectants to clean the surface of the cell phone, and the use of cell phones at work.


Sample collection and bacteriological analysis:

The samples were collected aseptically using damp cotton swaps by rotating the swabs on the keys, mouthpiece, and ear-piece of the mobile phone. The nutrient agar was prepared in 250 ml flask and was sterilized by autoclaving at 121oC at 15 psi for 20 minutes. 20 ml of the media was poured in the petriplates before getting solidified. The media was allowed to solidify. The swab was spread on the nutrient agar medium. The petriplates was incubated in an inverted position at 37oC for 24 hours. The plates were then observed for the presence of isolated colonies.



Microbiological standards in hygiene are necessary for a healthy life. But deviations from hygiene may be found everywhere. It also depends on cultural and social differences in society. Also the personal habits of hygiene vary from person to person. This investigation confirms such a deviation, as a variety of microbes were found on mobile phones. 200 samples were obtained from the surface of the cell phones of 200 volunteer students, Cleaners, Workers and Staff of Hindu college of Pharmacy. The questionnaire also revealed that all participants used their cell phones at work at least once a day, and 135 (67.6%) admitted that their cell phones had never been cleaned. Out of 200 samples 183(91.8%) shown the bacterial growth and 17(8.1%) had not shown any growth. The results were shown in Tab.1and Fig.1


Tab.1: Growth pattern

Total number of cell phones



Cell phones with growth



No bacterial growth




Fig.1: Growth pattern


A total of 200 mobile phones randomly sampled from the users of these phones were examined. The phones were obtained from the following study groups for three months between July and September, 2016; 120 students both girls and Boys, 46 Teaching and Non- teaching staff, 34 lab technicians and others. Out of 200 samples evaluated, a bacterial agent was observed in 183 and none from 17 samples. The results of this study showed a high percentage (91.8%) of bacterial contamination of mobile phones. Out of the three groups studied, Students had the highest rate of contamination (113: 57.6%).  Staff both teaching and non-teaching had the next highest (39: 22.4%); and Workers had the lowest rate of contamination (31: 11.8%). The results were shown in Tab.2and Fig.2


Tab .2: Category of people

Category of people

Number of samples collected

Number of positive samples

Percentage of Micro organisms












11.8 %


Fig.2: Category of people


The research findings indicate that the presence of both gram positive organisms and Gram negative organisms were observed on the cell phones. The results were shown in Tab.3. In which Gram positive organisms were more in number. The results of this study showed (Tab.3and Fig.3) a high percentage (91.8%) of bacterial contamination of mobile phones. These organisms may probably have found their way into the phone through the skin and from hand to hand. This is because the isolated bacteria are a subset of the normal micro biota of the skin as advanced by earlier researchers. [11]


Tab.3: Percentage of bacterial growth

Total percentage of bacterial growth

Gram positive bacteria

Gram negative bacteria

183 (91.8%)

126 (63.2%)

57 (28.6%)


Fig.3: Percentage of bacterial growth


Rusin [12] had documented both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in the hand-to-mouth transfer during casual activities. The present findings imply that mobile phones may serve as vehicles of transmission of diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, boils, and abscesses.



The present study was aimed at isolating bacteria from cell phone. A total of 200 samples were collected from the cell phones of the volunteers in the college premises. The research findings indicate that the presence of both gram positive organisms and Gram negative organisms were observed on the cell phones. Most of these bacterial species are harmful and cause infection to humans. Thus it is suggested that mobile users should follow and adapt cost effective and simple hygienic measures such as the use of alcohol and/or disinfection tissues, use of hands- free mobile phones, surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect, hand washing, and the wearing of gloves by the appropriate personnel this for a safe and healthy living.



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Received on 31.12.2016         Modified on 10.01.2017

Accepted on 27.01.2017         © AJRC All right reserved

Asian J. Research Chem. 2017; 10(1): 33-35.

DOI:  10.5958/0974-4150.2017.00006.2