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Disinfection for HTLV-III: Halogenated Soaps

Michael Schuster, MD; Jonathan Cohn, MD; Alexander McMeeking, MD
JAMA. 1986;255(17):2290-2291. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370170054014.
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To the Editor.—  The recently published editorial on human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type III (HTLV-III) transmission makes a case for realistic infection control precautions in caring for patients having diagnosed or possible HTLV-III infection.1 The known susceptibility of the virus to common disinfecting agents, including peroxide, alcohols, phenolics, and hypochlorite, as demonstrated by recent in vitro studies that monitored reverse transcriptase activity, is mentioned.2,3As infectious disease practitioners, we had thought it odd that none of these published studies evaluated halogenated compounds or iodophors such as povidone-iodine (Betadine), which are used almost universally for personal and patient disinfection. We therefore looked with interest at the statement in the editorial that "hand-washing, using halogenated soap, also appears to eradicate the organism." However, a review of the reference cited for that statement3 reveals no data to support such a claim. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control group did


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