London: Our increasing reliance on smartphones is making us more prone to diseases because they are dangerous breeding grounds for bacteria, doctors have warned. According to doctors, the combination of a cellphone's close proximity to your ears, nose and mouth with its bacteria-loving warmth, means people are exposing themselves to germs that are harmful to their health.

Tests have found that smartphones typically carry as many germs as the handle of a bathroom door, and common illness that can be caught include the flu, diarrhoea and eye infections.

The studies point to a lack of proper hygiene and adequate hand-washing by smartphone users.
The type of germs found on your cellphone can also be found on other everyday devices including computers, keys, pens and landline phones.

However, the risks are greater from cell phone usage because people are so attached to them and take them everywhere including their bed, the treadmill at the gym and restaurant tables.

Smartphones carry an abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination.
Of the eight phones tested by HML Labs of Muncie, Ind., there were between about 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria. In drinking water, the limit is less than one unit per 100 ml of water.

For some of the bacteria, you only need to ingest as few as 10 organisms to get sick.

"We're feeding the little creatures," a daily quoted Michael Schmidt from Medical University of South Carolina as telling WSJ.

"We've all seen that greasy smear [on the touch screen]. Where there is grease, there are bugs," he said.

(Agencies)

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