Introduction: Automated teller machines (ATMs) are widely used by many people, and they tend to harbor a numerous number of microorganisms on their surfaces. The hand borne transmission through ATMs is one of the most important routes for the spread of infectious agents in the community. The aim of this study is to investigate whether ATMs can act as potential vectors for bacterial contamination.
Methods: This is an observational study using cross-sectional study design. The study included collection of 30 surface swab from the ATMs of 5 different bank in Buraydah city, Saudi Arabia. The samples were collected using sterile cotton swab soaked with sterile water. The samples were then cultured immediately in to Blood agar and MacConkey agar. Each isolated Bacteria was identified using standard bacteriological methods after 24 hours of incubation. Selected isolates were further analysed using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF technology).
Results: Nine different microorganisms were isolated & identified. The majority (53.97%) were Staphylococci spp., being 25.40% S. aureus and 28.57% S. epidermitis. Other isolated bacteria were 11.11% Acinetobacter junii, 1.59% Acinetobacter baumannii, 1.59% Neisseria macacae, 3.18% Escherichia coli, 6.35% Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 7.93% Klebsiella species and 14.28% Micrococci species.
Conclusion: Isolates not reported before like Acinetobacter junii, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Neisseria macacae were successfully found in this study. This study reveals that a high level of bacterial contamination was detected on ATMs. The study also gives a public health concern as ATMs are strongly suggested to be potential areas for pathogen accumulation. It is highly suggested that the hands should be sterilized by hand sanitizer after ATM usage and ATMs should be well cleaned to reduce microbial contamination. Further studies are required on the bacteria isolated in this study to investigate their biofilm and antimicrobial susceptibility.