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October 13, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(7):685. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970240067022

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To the Editor:—  Acute hepatitis can be spread by minute amounts of infective matter; as little as 1 cu. mm. can transmit the disease. Cold chemical sterilization of surgical instruments is practiced widely ( it is used commonly for scissors and also for any instruments that must be sterilized during an operation), but the virus of homologous serum hepatitis is reported to be destroyed only by heat. The virus may possibly be destroyed only by prolonged exposure to solutions for sterilizing instruments; a four-hour exposure has been said to be minimal, but common practice in the operating room consists of less than one-eighth of this time ( 10 minutes is often used ). Once an incision has been made in the skin, all instruments are equally hazardous, and the mechanism recognized in syringe hepatitis is brought to the operating table with cold sterilization. The following suggestions are therefore made. 1. Homologous serum hepatitis

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