Skip to main content

Use of Cellular Telephones and Transmission of Pathogens by Medical Staff in New York and Israel

  • Joseph Gil Goldblatt (a1), Iris Krief (a1), Tal Klonsky (a1), Daniel Haller (a1), Victor Milloul (a1), Diane M. Sixsmith (a2) (a3), Isaac Srugo (a1) and Israel Potasman (a1)...

Hands and instruments used by healthcare workers may serve as vectors for the nosocomial transmission of microorganisms. The use of cellular telephones by medical personnel and the associated nosocomial transmission of pathogens have not been thoroughly examined. Findings from our study show that cellular telephones are commonly used by hospital personnel, even during patient contact. One-fifth of the cellular telephones examined in this study were found to harbor pathogenic microorganisms, showing that these devices may serve as vectors for transmission to patients.

Corresponding author
Infectious Diseases Unit, Bnai Zion Medical Center, PO Box 4940, Haifa 31048, Israel (
Hide All
1.Schultz, CH, Koenig, KL, Lewis, RJ. Implications of hospital evacuation after the Northridge, California, earthquake. N Engl J Med 2003;348:13491355.
2.International Telecommunications Union. ITU World Telecommunication Indicators (WTI) Database. 9th ed. 2005.
3.Redelmeier, DA, Tibshirani, RJ. Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. N Engl J Med 1997;336:453458.
4.Inskip, PD, Tarone, RE, Hatch, EE, et al.Cellular-telephone use and brain tumors. N Engl J Med 2001;344:7986.
5.Lamble, D, Kauranen, T, Laakso, M, Summala, H. Cognitive load and detection thresholds in car following situations: safety implications for using mobile (cellular) telephones while driving. Accid Anal Prev 1999;31:617623.
6.Hayes, DL, Wang, PJ, Reynolds, DW, et al.Interference with cardiac pace-makers by cellular telephones. N Engl J Med 1997;336:14731479.
7.Gilad, J, Borer, A, Riesenberg, C, et al.Cellular phones of personnel as a potential source for nosocomial transmission of Acinetobacter baumannii. In: Program and abstracts of the 43rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; Chicago, IL; 2003. Abstract K-745.
8.Baumann, P. Isolation of Acinetobacter from soil and water. J Bacteriol 1968;96:3942.
9.Allen, DM, Hartman, BJ. Acinetobacter species. In: Mandell, GL, Bennett, GE, Dolin, R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone; 2000.
10.Perilli, M, Felici, A, Oratore, A, et al.Characterization of the chromosomal cephalosporinases produced by Acinetobacter lwoffii and Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1996;40:715719.
11.Ng, PC, Herrington, RA, Beane, CA, Ghoneim, AT, Dear, PR. An outbreak of Acinetobacter septicaemia in a neonatal intensive care unit. J Hosp Infect 1989;14:363368.
12.Moran, GJ, Amii, RN, Abrahamian, FM, Talan, DA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in community-acquired skin infections. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:928930.
13.Harbarth, S, Francois, P, Shrenzel, J, et al.Community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Switzerland. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:962965.
14.Miller, LG, Perdreau-Remington, F, Rieg, G, et al.Necrotizing fasciitis caused by community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Los Angeles. N Engl J Med 2005;352:14451453.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *