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Virus Lifespan OUTSIDE the body - work related question
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Virus Lifespan OUTSIDE the body - work related question

Hi, I'm really glad that I found this site. I will try to be brief.

First, some background. I make my living repairing dental equipment. I spend my days laying on floors in operatories, pulling vacuum motors apart, repairing sterilizers, etc. There is absolutely NO guidance from our employer for infection control or disease prevention.

The industry basically treats the threat of disease transmission like it is impossible. For example, it is not uncommon to take a suction motor out of an office (blood and saliva both run through these motors, along with water), and throw it in the back of a van, where it leaks onto the carpet. We also keep tools, personal objects, etc in these vans. Aside from that, we also use these vans for personal use - buying groceries, shopping, etc. Also, we often use our own tools, so it is not uncommon to take a tool, use it in a dental office, and then take it home and use it in our house, without any thought of cleaning the tool between uses. I even have cabinets from a dental office sterilization room in my laundry room - they were never disinfected.

My question.

As you can well imagine, nearly everything in my house from furniture to tools to CDs and cell phones has been in my van at one time or another. Given that 'cleaning' means nothing more than wiping something of with a rag, the way I see it the potential for cross contamination is huge.

I understand that HIV and even Hepatitis C have relatively short lifespans outside of the body. However, the only information I can find on Hepatitis B is "AT LEAST 7 days". Well, this seems vague. A year is AT LEAST 7 days. What's the maximum? After one year is the virus dead? 6 months? 2 years?

This all came to a head when I had a baby last year. I love him very much, and want to do everything I can to keep him safe. I am vaccinated, but children aren't vaccinated here until the age of 6 for Hep B. I know that t requires 'blood to blood' contact, but kids fall on things and cut themselves, chew on things, etc all the time.

What I need to know is - is my home probably safe? How long will Hepatitis B viruses live outside the body? Is my laundry room cabinet from a dental office contaminating my sons washcloths and diapers?

I've tried contacting the CDC, and the just say 'at least' 7 days. My employer denies everything. I have talked to two doctors and received conflicting answers. Please help me.
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2 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I believe that it can live outside the body for 7 - 10 days.   Your home is probably safe.  In the future I'd consider giving stuff that you know has been exposed to blood/saliva a fairly thorough cleaning.  Not just because of Hep B.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I have never read that HBV outside the human body can survive more than 1 month.  So the cabinets in your laundry room are probably HBV free.  As for the back of your van, it is probably not too different from any public place.  What you can do is to flush it with detergent water from time to time.
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