lunes, 20 de mayo de 2013

Antiseptics and Disinfectants: Activity, Action, and Resistance

Antiseptics and disinfectants are used extensively in hospitals and other health care settings for a variety of topical and hard-surface applications. In particular, they are an essential part of infection control practices and aid in the prevention of nosocomial infections (277, 454). Mounting concerns over the potential for microbial contamination and infection risks in the food and general consumer markets have also led to increased use of antiseptics and disinfectants by the general public. A wide variety of active chemical agents (or “biocides”) are found in these products, many of which have been used for hundreds of years for antisepsis, disinfection, and preservation (39). Despite this, less is known about the mode of action of these active agents than about antibiotics. In general, biocides have a broader spectrum of activity than antibiotics, and, while antibiotics tend to have specific intracellular targets, biocides may have multiple targets. The widespread use of antiseptic and disinfectant products has prompted some speculation on the development of microbial resistance, in particular crossresistance to antibiotics. This review considers what is known about the mode of action of, and mechanisms of microbial resistance to, antiseptics and disinfectants and  attempts, wherever possible, to relate current knowledge to the clinical environment.
A summary of the various types of biocides used in antiseptics and disinfectants, their chemical structures, and their clinical uses is shown in Table 1. It is important to note that many of these biocides may be used singly or in combination in a variety of products which vary considerably in activity against microorganisms. Antimicrobial activity can be influenced by many factors such as formulation effects, presence of an organic load, synergy, temperature, dilution, and test method. These issues are beyond the scope of this review and are discussed elsewhere (123, 425, 444, 446, 451).
McDonnell G, Russell AD. Antiseptics and Disinfectants: Activity, Action, and Resistance. Clin. Microb. Rev. 1999. 12(1):147–179.

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