Surveillance of specific pathogens on mobile phones in aerosol and non-aerosol generating dental clinics during the COVID pandemic


  • SB Khan Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Western Cape, S. Africa
  • E Maboza Department of Research, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Western Cape
  • N Vally BDS Community Service
  • A Taliep BDS Community Service



Mobile phones in dental clinics; Pathogens on mobile phones; COVID-19 mobile phone protocols; phone clinical use; phone hygiene practices; mobile phone use guidelines.


Following COVID-19 protocols implemented globally, it is prudent to extend this to mobile phones, regarded as carriers of microbes, as these are used extensively in clinical settings for learning and patient care. Was to determine types of microbes harbored on mobile
phones and related hygiene practices whilst using these in aerosol and non-aerosol generating dental settings. This cross-sectional study was conducted in two parts: A laboratory study to determine the prevalence of microbes on mobile phones and a questionnaire survey to determine the related knowledge and behavior of phone users in both aerosol and non-aerosol generating dental clinics. All proper protocols (consent, ethics) were adhered to. A small percentage (27.2%) of swabs of mobile phones yielded a positive bacterial culture, of these 72% were from the AGP dental setting. Gram positive and negative microorganisms were distinguishable, indicating a diverse group of microbes. Students and staff indicated good mobile phone hygiene practices, but there is place for improvement.
Their related knowledge of disinfectants and use were acceptable, but not having mobile phone coverings was problematic.
Faculty protocols for disinfecting mobile phones and standardized guidelines for its use in aerosol or non-aerosoclinics is recommended.


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How to Cite

Khan, S., Maboza, E., Vally, N., & Taliep, A. (2023). Surveillance of specific pathogens on mobile phones in aerosol and non-aerosol generating dental clinics during the COVID pandemic. South African Dental Journal, 78(01), 1.