Study finds E. Coli, feces on cell phones

Published: Oct. 18, 2011 at 2:53 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2011 at 3:40 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – If you're a heavy cell phone user, listen up. A new study shows that one out of every six cell phones is contaminated with the bacteria E. Coli. What's worse is that the bacteria on your phone could come from fecal matter.

So how does that bacteria get on your phone? E. Coli can get on your phone several different ways. The simplest way is by taking your phone with you into the restroom.

"Cell phones go where people go," says Dr. Ron Reynolds of Beach Urgent Care. "And people can make some calls in pretty unusual and unexpected places."

An easy way to begin combating contamination is to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and often. But even staying clean can't prevent contamination.

"There are lots of opportunities for cross-contamination," says Dr. Reynolds. "Plus, you've got to realize how much bacteria is on a keyboard, and you usually go straight from a keyboard to your cell phone."

Fortunately, anti-bacterial cell phone wipes and disinfectants are pretty easy to find, and a simple wipe of the phone can mean a drastic drop in the chance for contamination. And experts say that it's a necessary thing to do, because E. Coli is a nasty bacteria.

"You don't really want to go one-on-one with those type of bacteria," Dr. Reynolds says, "because they usually win."

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