“Wash your hands before you eat”, “wash your hands after using the bathroom”, “wash your hands after playing outside” – all these phrases are commonly used by our thoughtful parents and they’re familiar for us from the childhood. We’re surrounded by all conceivable and inconceivable pathogens since birth. People strive against and live cheek by jowl with them at the same time. In fact, if a person grows in an isolated community or under sterile conditions, he or she won’t be able to resist to such new threats as harmful microorganisms. Even the attendance of kindergarden can be not only a social integration of a child but also a kind of preparation for future diseases. There’re some good examples of the isolation “side effects” in the history. One of them is a story of the American Indians. They were not ready for the ailments that came to the continent with the European colonizers and a common cold mowed them down as a severe flu.
The most frightening fact is that the bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye. But thankfully, we live in the XXI century and we can simply refer to the lab and undertake a study. There is a statement that the amount of the bacteria that live on electronic devices exceed that of a toilet rim. Is it true or false? One of the studies compared the working laptop, PC mouse, iPhone and an ordinary push-button mobile phone Nokia 3310. Could you guess what device jeopardizes our health?
If one is guided by the logic, the "dirtiest" devices should be a mouse and a laptop (in particular, its keyboard). It may seem that the smartphone, with its front side closed by a smooth glass cannot accumulate the dirt. It is always in your pocket where the screen is infinitely wiped with a cloth. And what considers the buttons of Nokia, they promote the accumulation of dirt, which should affect the results of research. Is this true in reality?
It’s so simple to wipe the mobile phone regularly with some cleansing agent, but almost no one does it. And wipes or unspecialized liquids may be harmful to the oleophobic glass coating. More often a sleeve or shirttail is the best option.
Let’s have a look at the classic daily algorithm of an office worker: he goes out of the house, touches the door handles, goes into public transport, holds on to the handrail, comes to work and here the doors again, elevator buttons, and then - computer mouse, phone call, he shakes hands with colleagues and so on, ad infinitum.
Well, let's turn to the laboratory study to find out the truth about the “habitants” of the devices that we use daily. All the devices haven’t been cleaned in order to maintain the experimental integrity.
The samples taken from the "experimental subjects" have been screened in Petri dishes and sent to the thermostat, which maintains a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius - the temperature of the human body. Due to the type of solution, even one microbe sprout and show itself in all its glory.
Let's see if logical conclusions and findings are the same. One of the hypotheses was completely disproved, and the other was confirmed only partially. No pathogens were identified on the Nokia 3310 apart from those regarded as a normal microflora and therefore not causing a disease.
There were found both neutral and harmful bacteria, which can cause a disease in large quantities. It is believed that these bacteria do not represent a significant risk to human health, but it can reduce the effectiveness of treatment of bacterial diseases. The good news is that it is sensitive to all groups of antibiotics, with the exception of erythromycin.
The PC mouse was expectedly not sterile, even despite the fact that it is cleaned once a week. As a result, at the top of a small area the Micrococcus luteus was detected, at the bottom - the same bacteria, but in larger amounts.
And finally, a winner of the event that breaks our hope for bacteria-free glass - iPhone 6 Plus. Here the experts have found the growth of pathogenic beta-hemolytic streptococcus of B group (Streptococcus agalactiae).This group of streptococcal infections is associated with the illnesses of urogenital system, also they can colonize nasal passages and the gastro-intestinal tract.
All these pathogens feel great in warm climatic conditions that are typical for the UAE. Nevertheless, the pace of technological development in this region increases every day and we hear of new inventions so often that we can be sure – the remedy is nearby. While already living in the age of cutting edge technology, we should expect the age of cutting-edge ecology with its clean and bacteria-free devices.
In fact, the studies have shown that even in the most ordinary things that we use daily can hide some unexpected "surprises", so sometimes it’s necessary to listen to those boring science guys from TV as they can give a truly valuable piece of advice. Forewarned is forearmed, isn’t it?