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Hepatitis C can live on surfaces. Can it infect from surfaces?

Hello.
I'm combating contamination fears and ocd. I'm on a waiting list for cbt but I need information too.
My fears are regarding blood borne disease.

I'm reaching out to become informed before starting therapy. This fear is currently destroying my life. All my free time is spent worrying. I'm constantly hyper-aware of what I touch and washing hands all too frequently.

I do not mean to offend, quite the contrary, I need to be set on the right path here.

I've been researching hepatitis C for some time now, with varying results. I've found research that the virus can remain infectious on surfaces in dried blood for 16 hours to 4 days. I've also found studies saying 3 weeks. And also studies saying 6 weeks.

I have eczema on my hands and they are always covered with inflamed skin and minor cuts. I've found numerous studies and information texts saying the virus can enter the bloodstream through broken skin.

Now, I fear there could be dried blood on public surfaces, say for example doorknobs and elevator buttons. I fear that I'll come into contact with hep c on my broken skin and contract the disease.

Sometimes I actually come into contact with stains that could be red. Ironically i am colorblind which makes it hard to destinguish blood from dirt etc.

This makes me quarantine clothing that I've for example have been wearing on public transport for weeks at a time. I'm afraid I pick up something from somewhere, and then when I touch it I can contract the disease, again, through my broken hands. For the same reason I won't dare touch my shoes or the floor/ground.

As you understand this is debilitating and humiliating. I'm humbly reaching out to learn if this way of indirect exposure is reasonable. In my mind, the chain of transmission is actually reasonable because of the survivability of the virus and the broken skin on my hands. Active virus + risk factor = transmission.

Can hepatitis c infect from inanimate surfaces with blood on them?

I'm genuinely and enormously thankful for advice.
2 Responses
683231 tn?1467323017
There have been no known incidence of infection in this manner. While hep c can live on surfaces for long periods of times this is on undisturbed surfaces so really like a Petri dish in a laboratory. Common surfaces in the environment in which we live are far from undisturbed. And now in the land of covid most establishments are required to wipe down common touch  points ie handrails and elevator buttons.

Also if hep c was easily contracted there would be far more people infected.

The most common method of transmission remains the sharing of IV drug needles.

Even in the case of a medical professional who should experience an accidental needlestick involving a patient with known hepatitis C, the odds of transmission are only about 1.8%. I suggest you try to keep that in mind when considering relative risk.

The best thing you can do is continue to treat the condition you actually have your OCD and learn to live in the world without fear.

Best of luck to you I hope you find help for your OCD
1 Comments
Thanks for the quick response.
What if I quarantine let's say a pair of jeans which I've been sitting on a stain with. It will be totally undisturbed.
Would it still be hard to acquire the virus through touching the stain?

Lots of sources on the net says it's possible to contact it through cuts and non-intact skin. It seems logical that it can enter if I touch a contaminated surface.
683231 tn?1467323017
It is a theoretical risk if you should have a number of factors combine

a. You encounter blood not just a stain of some kind
b. The blood has hep c virus
c. The hep c virus is active so undisturbed and still viable
d. That blood should somehow enter your blood stream through an open wet fresh weeping injury.

And even if all that should somehow happen I assume you realize that that risk would be much less than the risk involving the much more invasive accidental needlestick involving a patient with known hepatitis C without risk standing at only 1.8%.

Basically you’re talking a risk in the tens of thousands of small risk, a microscopically small risk.

Again, if hepatitis C was as infected as you fear it is much more than less than 1% of the population would be currently infected with hepatitis C.

As far as clothing no special care is required unless the clothing is dripping with fresh blood. Just wash as usual.

I strongly suggest you continue working with your counselor and possibly consider antianxiety medication if your doctor recommends.
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