We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Other Articles |

Benzalkonium Chloride—Source of Hospital Infection with Gram-Negative Bacteria

John C. Lee, M.D.; Philip J. Fialkow, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;177(10):708-710. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.73040360013012a.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


QUATERNARY ammonium compounds (QAC) have been in common use for more than a decade because of their wetting and antibacterial properties. As disinfectants they have many useful attributes and have been recommended for cold sterilization of instruments which cannot be autoclaved.1 However, since 1957 several reports have stressed the risks of using QAC for skin disinfection.2-5 It has been shown that aqueous solutions of these compounds lose most of their antibacterial properties if stored with cotton fibers or protein. After accidental contamination of QAC solutions, some organisms, particularly gram-negative bacteria, may survive and even multiply and may then be applied with cotton to the patient's skin prior to needle puncture.5 Despite this published experience, cotton pledgets stored in QAC continue to be used for skin cleansing. This report is presented to emphasize the dangers inherent in the use of these compounds in hospital wards and to


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.