Microbiological Assessment of Smartphone Surfaces Obtained from Final Year Students at Hezekiah University Umudi, Nkwerre, Imo State, Nigeria.


Microbial quality
normal saline-moistened swab stick
alcohol-based wipes

How to Cite

Effiong, E., Iheanacho, G., Awari, G., & Iheagwam, K. (2024). Microbiological Assessment of Smartphone Surfaces Obtained from Final Year Students at Hezekiah University Umudi, Nkwerre, Imo State, Nigeria. Journal of Life and Bio Sciences Research , 5(02), 18 - 23. https://doi.org/10.38094/jlbsr502118


Smartphones of students in tertiary institutions have been described as an understudied and under-explored microcosm by leading public health experts. The microbial quality of smartphone surfaces has been a constant reason for several scientific discussions. Two hundred students were initially targeted for the study, ten students in the final year class at the Hezekiah University Umudi permitted access to their phones during the sampling. The study carried by swabbing the surface of their phones with a normal saline-moistened swab stick using a square quadrant. The content was dislodged and diluted using a 10-fold serial dilution technique. The samples were evaluated for total heterotrophic count, coliform, fungal and Staphylococcal count. The bacterial isolates were tentatively identified using biochemical reactions. The total heterotrophic count of the samples obtained from the male students ranged from Log 2.82 CFU/cm2 to Log 3.21 CFU/cm2 while the total coliform count was observed to range from Log 1.3 CFU/cm2 to Log 1.6 CFU/cm2. The total heterotrophic count ranged from Log 2.82 CFU/cm2 to Log 3.21 CFU/cm2 for male students and from Log 1.6 CFU/cm2 to Log 2.73 CFU/cm2 for female students. The isolates obtained from the study were Acinetobacter sp., Escherichia coli, Proteus sp., Klebsiella sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Staphylococcus sp. There is a need for the University to educate students on the need to routinely use alcohol-based wipes to clean the surfaces of their phones as a precautionary measure to limit diseases associated with the use of mobile phones.



Akinyemi, K.O., Atapu, A.D., Adetona, O.O., Coker, A.O. (2009). The potential role of mobile phones in the spread of bacterial infections. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries, 3(08), 628-632.

Auhim, H.S. (2013). Bacterial contamination of personal mobile phones in Iraq. Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences, 3(4), 2652.

Bhat, S.S., Hegde, S.K., Salian, S. (2011). The potential of mobile phones to serve as a reservoir of nosocomial pathogens. Online J. Health Allied Sci., 10(2), 14.

Bodena, D., Teklemariam, Z., Balakrishnan, S., Tesfa, T. (2019). Bacterial contamination of mobile phones of health professionals in Eastern Ethiopia: antimicrobial susceptibility and associated factors. Tropical Medicine and Health, 47, 1-10.

Brady, R.R., Wasson, A., Stirling, I., McAllister, C., Damani, N.N. (2018). Is your phone bugged? The incidence of bacteria known to cause nosocomial infection in healthcare workers' mobile phones. J Hosp Infect, 62, 123-125.

Cheesebrough, M. (2000). Medical Laboratory Manual for Tropical Countries, Vol. II. Microbiology, Cambridge University Press, London, 136-142.

Eboh, O.J., Onuoha, T., Aghanenu, A. S. (2022). Isolation And Characterization of Bacteria on Mobile Phone Screen from Some Novena University Students. European Journal of Biology and Medical Science Research, 10(1), 1-6.

Effiong, E., Agwa, O.K., Abu, G.O. (2019). Algal-biomass production from Chlorella sp. using hot and cold-water infusions of poultry droppings. Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, 4(4), 1-9.

Elmanama, A., Hassona, I., Marouf, A., Alshaer, G., Ghanima, E.A. (2015). Microbial load of touch screen mobile phones used by university students and healthcare staff. Journal of the Arab American University, 1(1), 1-18.

Gashaw, M., Abtew, D., Addis, Z. (2014). Prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of bacteria isolated from mobile phones of health care professionals working in Gondar town health centres. ISRN Public Health, 2014, 1-6.

Gunasekara, A.S., dela Cruz, I.D.P., Curtis, M.J., Claassen, V.P., Tjeerdema, R. S. (2009). The behavior of clomazone in the soil environment. Pest Management Science: formerly Pesticide Science, 65(6), 711-716.

He, J., Shen, X., Zhang, N., Sun, C., Shao, Y. (2022). Smartphones as an Ecological Niche of Microorganisms: Microbial Activities, Assembly, and Opportunistic Pathogens. Microbiology spectrum, 10(5), e01508-22.

Huang, D., Peng, X., Liu, Z., Chen, J., Liu, P. (2024). Understanding the route choice behavior of metro passenger using the smartphone applications. Travel Behaviour and Society, 36, 100804.

MacFaddin, J.F. (2000). Biochemical tests for identification of medical bacteria, Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia, PA, 113(7).

Madigan, M.T., Martinko, J.M., Dunlap, P.V., Clark, D.P. (2008). Brock Biology of Microorganisms 12th ed. Int. Microbiol, 11, 65-73.

Maier, R. M., Pepper, I.L., Gerba, C. P. (2009). Environmental Microbiology, San Diego; Academic Press 397.

Nwankwo, E.O., Ekwunife, N., Mofolorunsho, K.C. (2014). Nosocomial pathogens associated with the mobile phones of healthcare workers in a hospital in Anyigba, Kogi state, Nigeria. Journal of epidemiology and global health, 4(2), 135-140.

Odoemelam, H.A., Ogugbue, J.,C., Aniebo-Mbakwem, C. (2020). Seasonal variation in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) microbial profile in and around University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria. Macedonian Journal of Ecology and Environment, 22(2), 139-151.

Sadiq, M., Paul, J., Bharti, K. (2020). Dispositional traits and organic food consumption. Journal of Cleaner Production, 266, 121961.

Seal, S., Dharmarajan, G., Khan, I. (2021). Evolution of pathogen tolerance and emerging infections: A missing experimental paradigm. Elife, 10, e68874.

Wang, K., Varma, D.S., Prosperi, M. (2018). A systematic review of the effectiveness of mobile apps for monitoring and management of mental health symptoms or disorders. Journal of psychiatric research, 107, 73-78.

World Health Organization. (2000). The world health report 2000: health systems: improving performance. World Health Organization.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Array