Hepatitis C Community
Viruses in Wastewater
About This Community:

This forum is for questions about medical issues and research aspects of Hepatitis C such as, questions about being newly diagnosed, questions about current treatments, information and participation in discussions about research studies and clinical trials related to Hepatitis. If you would like to communicate with other people who have been touched by Hepatitis, please visit our new Hepatitis Social/Living with Hepatitis forum

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Viruses in Wastewater

I am a college student and I recently was conducting some chemistry work in a lab with wastewater from a sewage/wastewater treatment plant. We were advised to wear gloves throughout the whole process, but I stupidely chose to handle some of the wastewater without gloves, and spilled some on my hand, perhaps more than once. I later found out that sewer workers are at greater risk of conracting hepatitis C due to the fact that lots of blood gets flushed down drains and into the wastewater system, and then contraction of the virus can occur iff A) there is blood in the sewage, and B) I have an open wound that comes ino contact with the blood in the solution.

Is there any risk of me contracting a virus such as hepatitis C from this incident? The wastewater solution I was working with had the colour of cloudy water essentially, and no bloodiness in the water was visible to the naked eye as far as I can remember. I also do not remember having any open wounds at the time, but I'm not ruling out the possibility as I work construction when I am not in school, and typically get small cuts or scrapes on my hands. (I understand the size of a cut needs not to be very large in order to be worrisome when dealing with viruses.)

Expert advice would be greatly appreciated.
9 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
1856046_tn?1330240845
I work in wastewater myself and because there is the potential for contamination with pathogens (disease causing organisms), you should always take precautions but in the 25 years I have been doing this, I have never heard of anyone catching anything. If it was the influent into the plant, it is very dilute. More dangers exixts in the primary or activated sludge or sludge from a digester.

The employees around me would be more likely to catch it from me than from wastewater! Get tested and that will help you to ease your worry and from now on, always wear the proper PPE (personal protective equipment).
If it was me, I wouldn't stress though.

An remember: the 1st rule of WWT is never bite your fingernails :o)
Chris
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Does anyone know if blood diluted in wastewater could be dangerous? And thanks for the response, this seems like of one of those things that would be an extremely unlikely situation, but I still can't get it off my mind.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
  Hep C can even live on surfaces, for many days, so I imagine it could live in the waste water for that length of time as well.
  The thing is, did you have an open cut, Josh? It
is Universal Precaution, to wear gloves while working with bodily fluids.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I realize the virus can survive for a long time in even minisule amounts of blood, but if the infected blood is mixed in large amounts of water can the virus/blood still be present in the resulting solution and cause infection?

Lets say 20ml of infected blood is mixed with 2L of water? Is this solution still potentially infectious? I'm guessing in the sewage/wastewater system, the amount of potential "hep blood" vs. all the other substances going down drains is immensely less than even my example mixture, but you get the idea.
Blank
179856_tn?1333550962
Lord. It has to be blood to blood contamination..............just splashing it on you wont give it to you. Drinking it wont give it to you. Blood to blood.

You are fine.

I'd worry about other things than hepC.
Blank
1840891_tn?1383280315
I agree with nygirl7. Hepatitis C is transmitted blood to blood only and you have no reason to worry about it in this case as the odds are so remote as to be absurd. I do think you should worry a lot more about the other pathogens you can be exposed to this way, such as hepatitis A - classically transmitted via fecal contamination. If you haven't been vaccinated, you definitely should make that a priority.
Blank
766573_tn?1365170066
An remember: the 1st rule of WWT is never bite your fingernails :o)
Chris
__________________-

Very sound advice.
Blank
179856_tn?1333550962
Yes HepA would be one of my concerns not Hep C.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
From the exposure you describe your concern should be more with Hep A.  

Also you may want to get help for OCD. You are sound a little like someone suffering with that.

Very simple, go to doctor and have blood drawn, add hep panel, this will tell status of Hep A,B & C

Best of luck
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Hepatitis C Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Hepatitis Answerers
96938_tn?1189803458
Blank
FlGuy
South, FL
683231_tn?1408489117
Blank
flyinlynn
Auburn, WA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
can-do-man
IN
1747881_tn?1358189534
Blank
hrsepwrguy
Greeley, CO
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
susan400
FL
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
nan535
Brooklyn, NY