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A total of 36 samples were collected from different parts (keyboard, touchpad/mouse and screen) of both public and personal computers. Total heterotrophic counts ranged from 0.46×10- 2.00×108cfu/ml in screen, 0.64×10- 2.53×108cfu/ml in keyboard and 0.50×10- 2.32×108cfu/ml in touchpad samples. Coliform counts ranged from 0.17×10- 1.87×108cfu/ml in screen, 0.46×10- 2.10×108cfu/ml in keyboard and 0.28×10- 1.89×108cfu/ml in touchpad samples. Staphylococcal counts ranged from 0.04×10- 0.14×106cfu/ml in screen, 0.09×10- 0.41×106cfu/ml in keyboard and 0.03×10- 0.32×106cfu/ml in touchpad samples. Fungal counts ranged from 0.03×10- 0.18×106cfu/ml in screen, 0.12×10- 0.32×106cfu/ml in keyboard and 0.04×10- 0.25×106cfu/ml in touchpad samples. The microbial counts conducted showed that the public computers had more contamination levels. Seven bacterial species (Staphylococcus sp., Streptococcus sp., Salmonella sp., Bacillus sp., Klebsiella sp., Escherichia coli and Micrococcus sp.) and five fungal species (Candida sp., Aspergillus sp., Rhizopus sp., Penicillium sp., and Mucor sp.) were isolated. Staphylococcus sp. and Aspergillus sp. had the highest percentage occurrence of 31.55% and 40.38% respectively in personal computers while Bacillus sp. and Aspergillus sp. was predominant in public computers with percentage occurrence of 26.50% and 31.58% respectively. Streptococcus sp. and Penicillium sp. had the least occurrence in personal computers while Streptococcus sp., Candida sp., Mucor sp. and Penicillium sp. were the least in public computers. Statistical analysis showed that only few counts in the Total Heterotrophic Count, Coliform and fungal counts were significantly different at P<0.05 while others were not significantly different.


Title page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                  iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   v

List of Tables                                                                                                                          viii

Abstract                                                                                                                                  x

CHAPTER ONE                                                                                                                   1

1.0         INTRODUCTION                                                                                                  1

1.1                 An Overview on Computer                                                                                       1

1.2                 Aim of study                                                                                                             3

1.3                 Objectives of study                                                                                                    3

1.4                 Places where computers can be found in Michael Okpara

University of Agriculture Umudike                                                                          3

CHAPTER TWO                                                                                                                  4

2.0       LITERATURE REVIEW                                                                                       4

2.1              Applications of Computer                                                                                          4

2.2              Computer as fomites/microbial reservoirs                                                                  5


2.3        Microorganisms associated with the use of computer

            and the infections they cause                                                                                      6


2.4        Factors affecting growth of microorganisms on computers                                       6


2.5       Control of microbial infections associated with computer usage                              7

2.5.1   Cleaning/Disinfection of computer                                                                              7

2.5.2    Hand washing                                                                                                                         8

CHAPTER THREE                                                                                                             10

3.0       MATERIALS AND METHODS                                                                            10

3.1       Study area                                                                                                                   10

3.2       Materials                                                                                                                     10

3.3       Sample collection                                                                                                        11

3.4       Sterilization of materials                                                                                             12

3.5       Media                                                                                                                          12

3.6       Microbiological analysis of samples                                                                            13

3.6.1    Inoculation                                                                                                                  13

3.6.2    Serial dilution                                                                                                              13

3.6.3    Enumeration of microorganisms                                                                                 13

3.7       Characterization and identification of the bacterial isolates                                       14

3.7.1    Purification and storage of the isolates                                                                       14

3.7.2    Colonial morphology                                                                                                  14

3.7.3    Gram staining                                                                                                              15

3.7.4    Biochemical tests                                                                                                        16 Catalase test                                                                                                                16  Coagulase test                                                                                                             16  Indole test                                                                                                                   16  Methyl red-Voges Proskauer (MR-VP) test                                                               17 Citrate utilization test                                                                                                 18 Oxidase test                                                                                                                18

3.8       Statistical analysis                                                                                                       19

CHAPTER FOUR                                                                                                                20

4.0       RESULTS                                                                                                                 20

4.1       Results                                                                                                                        20

CHAPTER FIVE                                                                                                                  49

5.0       DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION                                   49

5.1       Discussion                                                                                                                   49

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                                  54

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                                      55       




Table                                                  Title                                                                               Page

4.1              Total Heterotrophic Count of Screen samples obtained from Personal and

 Public computers                                                                                                              28

4.2        Total Heterotrophic Count of Keyboard samples obtained from Personal and

       Public computers                                                                                                             29

4.3         Total Heterotrophic Count of Touchpad samples obtained from Personal and

        Public computers                                                                                                            30 

4.4         Coliform Count of Screen samples obtained from Personal and Public

       computers                                                                                                                        31

4.5         Coliform Count of Keyboard samples obtained from Personal and Public

       computers                                                                                                                        32

4.6         Coliform Count of Touchpad samples obtained from Personal and Public

       computers                                                                                                                         33

4.7         Staphylococcal Count of Screen samples obtained from Personal and Public

       computers                                                                                                                         34

4.8              Staphylococcal Count of Keyboard samples obtained from Personal and Public

computers                                                                                                                          35

4.9        Staphylococcal Count of Touchpad samples obtained from Personal and Public

      Computers                                                                                                                        36

4.10          Fungal Count of Screen samples obtained from Personal and Public computers            37

4.11          Fungal Count of Keyboard samples obtained from Personal and Public

            computers                                                                                                                         38

4.12     Fungal Count of Touchpad samples obtained from Personal and Public      

      computers                                                                                                                         39

4.13     Cultural, morphological and biochemical characteristics of the bacterial isolates          40

4.14     Cultural and morphological characteristics of the fungal isolates                                   42

4.15     Distribution of Microbial Isolates                                                                                    43

4.16     Frequency of Occurrence of the Different Bacterial Isolates on Personal and

            Public  Computers                                                                                                            44

4.17     Frequency of Occurrence of the Different Fungal Isolates on Personal and Public                 

            computers                                                                                                                         45

4.18     Results of the Statistical analysis carried out on Keyboard samples obtained from 

            Public and Personal Computers                                                                                       46

4.19     Results of the Statistical analysis carried out on Touchpad samples obtained from

            Public and Personal Computers                                                                                       47

4.20     Results of the Statistical analysis carried out on Screen samples obtained from

            Public and Personal Computers                                                                                       48










1.1   An Overview on Computer

Computer has been described as the latest technological media which are capable of receiving and accepting data and performing operation according to instruction (program) and providing result of the operation with great speed and accuracy (Awe et al.,2013). The importance of computer had been identified in various fields such as Health, Agriculture, Finance, Education and Research Institution (Onasanya, 2002). Its speed of operation has made its application in these fields inevitable. The inevitability of the computer in most of the identified fields has been a major factor for the continuous proliferation of computer usage in all these fields. Computers continue to have an increased presence in almost every aspect of our occupational, recreational and residential environments (Anderson and Palombo, 2009).

Owing to this indispensable nature of the computer to the various activities of man in this technologically dominated society, there is increasing rate of interactions with the computer from day to day (Onasanya, 2002; Anderson and Palombo, 2009; Balci et al., 2009). In various university environments for instance, students have indicated 100% access to computers, 92.1% regularly use internet and 73.3% regularly use e-mail (Palmer and Bray, 2001). To accommodate the extensive use of computer technology, universities have developed multi-user “computer laboratories” on campuses for general student access (Anderson and Palombo, 2009).

Microorganisms that cause infections can be found in any environment including soil, air, water, food and on other organisms as well as on environmental surfaces or objects. The infections that these microorganisms cause can spread to humans in various ways: directly or indirectly via inanimate objects called fomites and/or living organisms called vectors (Neely and Sittig, 2002). A search of literature has revealed that in human environment, microorganisms colonize and contaminate environmental objects in the home (Lori et al., 2002), hospital (Brady et al., 2007), schools and day-care environment (Itah and Ben, 2004) and in offices (Bouillard et al., 2005).

Since microbes and especially bacteria are found everywhere, it is expected that computers just like other objects, may harbor such microorganisms (Fatima and Tarek, 2015). In recent times, keyboards and mice are environmental objects in constant use in the growing need for computer system application. Keyboards and mice are components of a computer system that are used on daily basis in accomplishing various computer tasks in almost every aspect of our society. Their uses have greatly expanded and can be found in schools, banks, cybercafés, offices and hospitals (Awe et al., 2013). In universities, students, faculty and staff use computers. Given that the computers and mice are not routinely disinfected, the opportunity of the transmission of contaminated microorganisms is greater (Fatima and Tarek, 2015).

Having been established in literatures that computer keyboard are capable of hosting pathogenic microbes (such as S. aureus, E. coli, Bacillus sp. etc.) and hence been able to act as a portal of infection, it is essential to identify the extent to which the people who continually interact with computer keyboard are aware of the risk associated with its possibilities as a portal of infection. People are exposed to this risk unconsciously because of the low level of awareness among users of computers, this thus serve as a medium to inform users of keyboard and mouse about the necessary need to be more careful as they interact with this wonderful instrument of technology (Awe et al., 2013).

1.2   Aim of Study

§  To isolate, characterize and identify the microbial group associated with different parts of both personal and public computers used in MOUAU

1.3 Objectives of Study

§  To assess the microbial load on public and personal computers in MOUAU

§  To compare the microbial load between public and personal computers in MOUAU

§  To assess the potential risks microorganisms associated with computers pose to public health

1.4  Places where computers can be found in MOUAU

The use of computer is common in almost every, if not all environments of which Michael Okpara University is not left out. In the university environment, computers can be found in colleges, banks, hostels, library and various computer centers within the campus. These computers are used in all these areas to carry out both personal activities and for business purposes. Public computers can be found in places like computer village, research, Afrihub and the e-library of the institution whereas personal computers are likely to be found in offices in different departments and also in banks where they are used to serve customers. Recently, students also make use of personal computers which come in different shapes, sizes and model. Some have desktop, laptop and palmtop computers; some of them are screen touch while others are non-screen touch computers. Students use these for doing their assignments, internet access, research works, entertainment etc.

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