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February 17, 1975

Control of Hepatitis B Virus in Environmental Contamination

Author Affiliations

Charles P. Pattison, MD Center for Disease Control Phoenix, Ariz

JAMA. 1975;231(7):700-701. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240190010002

To the Editor.—  We believe that a certain amount of comment and clarification are in order regarding the QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS exchange between Drs. Warrens and Abbott (229: 579, 1974). Dr. Warrens's inquiry as to the best chemical means of disinfecting blood spills from potential carriers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a question of much practical importance and, in turn, gives rise to a second question of an applied nature, which will be mentioned later. First, it should be pointed out that to "kill the virus of hepatitis B," one does not have to "kill the antigen" (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]). This is merely a matter of semantics, but Krugman and Giles1 and Lo-Grippo et al (187:722, 1964) have shown that the inactivation kinetics of the infective particle and the associated surface antigen are not equal when exposed to physical or chemical disinfecting agents, ie,