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November 1984

Topical Antiseptics

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania 36th and Spruce streets Philadelphia, PA 19104

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(11):1419. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650470025006

To the Editor.—  Mertz et al1 recently concluded that the topical application of 10% povidone-iodine and 70% alcohol had "very limited efficacy as antiseptic agents for the treatment of superficial wounds." My analysis of their data suggests that a much greater antimicrobial effect occurred than their pessimistic conclusion.The methodology used involved a well-controlled experimental infection model in Yorkshire pigs. The wounding technique involved split-thickness dermal wounds—this provides ample serum that can dilute and/or neutralize topically applied antimicrobial agents. The treatment consisted of a single application of 0.1 mL to a 7 × 10 mm × 0.3 mm deep wound. The inoculum size was large, 20 μL of a suspension in excess of 108 organisms per milliliter. The combination of a dermal wound (as opposed to a superficial epidermal abrasion type of wound), a large bacterial inoculum, and a single application of a small volume of an antiseptic