Top 10 Germs on Your Smartphone

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
A petri dish with Pseudomonas aeruginosa is shown; this bacterium requires little nutrition and can tolerate a range of settings, including your smartphone. © Klaus Rose/dpa/Corbis

This "opportunistic pathogen," as described by one team of microbiologists, works its way into a wide variety of settings. It requires little nutrition and can tolerate a range of settings, from hospital equipment and sinks, to community pools and even your talking device. In a study of 400 cell phones, Nigerian researchers found the bacteria were among the most common lurking on the gadgets [sources: Lister et al., Akinyemi].

What separates Pseudomonas aeruginosa from other items on this list is its amazing ability to resist treatment after infection. The more severe of these infections typically occur in hospitals and particularly among intensive care patients [source: Lister et al.]. That sounds like a good enough reason to make the ICU a cell-phone-free zone.

Author's Note: Top 10 Germs on Your Smartphone

They say urine is surprisingly clean. Some folks use it to clean wounds. In space, astronauts even transform it into water for drinking and cooking. I think I'll stick with the stuff out of the tap for now when I get thirsty, but I'm relieved to know that I may have sterilized my cell phone when I accidentally dropped it in the toilet last week.

Related Articles


  • Akinyemi, Kabir. "The potential role of mobile phones in the spread of bacterial infections." The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 2009 (Aug. 11, 2014)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Diphtheria - Fact Sheet for Parents." July 8, 2013 (Aug. 12, 2014)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "E.coli (Escherichia coli)." (Aug. 10, 2014)
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