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Journal Article

The Effect of Blood on the Anitiviral Activity of Sodium Hypochlorite, a Phenolic, and a Quaternary Ammonium Compound

David J. Weber , MD, MPH, Susan L. Barbee , MS, MSPH, Mark D. Sobsey , PhD and William A. Rutala , PhD, MPH
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 20, No. 12 (December 1999), pp. 821-827
DOI: 10.1086/501591
Stable URL:
Page Count: 7
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The Effect of Blood on the Anitiviral Activity of Sodium Hypochlorite, a Phenolic, and a Quaternary Ammonium Compound
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OBJECTIVE.  To assess the virucidal activity of three disinfectants (sodium hypochlorite, a phenolic, and a quaternary ammonium compound) in the presence and absence of blood. METHODS.  Disinfectants at varying concentrations (hypochlorite: 5,000, 500, or 50 ppm; phenolic: 1:10 or 1:128 dilution; quaternary ammonium compound: 1:10 or 1:128 dilution) were added to either saline or whole blood (final concentration, 80% or 20% blood) and mixed. Test organisms included an attenuated vaccine strain of poliovirus type 1 (prototype for relatively resistant hydrophilic viruses) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 (prototype for relatively susceptible lipophilic viruses). Virus was added to create a viral‐blood suspension. Viral survival was tested at room temperature at the following times: 0, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. A neutralizer stopped the reaction, and virus was assayed using a plaque technique. RESULTS.  In the absence of blood, complete inactivation of HSV was achieved within 30 seconds with 5,000 (1:10 dilution of bleach) and 500 (1:100 dilution of bleach) ppm chlorine, 1:10 and 1:128 diluted phenolic (use dilution), and 1:10 and 1:128 diluted quaternary ammonium compound (use dilution). In the presence of 80% blood, only 5,000 ppm hypochlorite, 1:10 phenolic, and 1:10 or 1:128 quaternary ammonium compound were effective. In the absence of blood, complete inactivation of polio was achieved within 30 seconds by 5,000 and 500 ppm chlorine and 1:10 quaternary ammonium compound. In the presence of 80% blood, no solution tested was capable of completely inactivating poliovirus within 10 minutes. CONCLUSIONS.  Our data suggest that, in the absence of visible blood, environmental surfaces may be disinfected with a diluted hypochlorite solution (1:10 or 1:100), a phenolic, or a quaternary ammonium compound. Based on our studies using HSV, which has similar susceptibilities to disinfectants as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), phenolics at their use dilution and 1:100 diluted hypochlorite are unlikely to inactivate HIV or hepatitis B virus reliably in the presence of blood. Hypochlorite at a final concentration of 5,000 ppm (1:10 dilution) should be used to decontaminate blood spills, but, even after decontamination, care should be used to avoid sharps injuries.

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