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Health Agencies Update
December 25, 2013

Antiseptics Agents Linked to Infections

JAMA. 2013;310(24):2606. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.285009

Reports of infections associated with the use of antiseptic agents used to clean the skin before surgery or injection have prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to request changes in the labeling and packaging of these products (http://1.usa.gov/1c9WFRY).

After reviewing reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the literature, as well as direct reports to the FDA, the agency has identified 4 deaths, 5 cases of wound infection, 7 cases of peritonitis, 10 cases of septic arthritis, 14 cases of indwelling catheter infection, 16 injection site infections, and 32 cases of bacteremia caused by contaminated topical antiseptic agents. The infections have involved all commonly used antiseptic ingredients and a range of infectious agents. In some cases, the contamination was caused by microorganisms introduced by the user; in others it may have been caused by contamination during the manufacturing process. Large-scale recalls of antiseptic products have occurred in recent years as a result of contamination by manufacturers.