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Avatar universal


can hep c survive outside the body if exposed to oxygen?
17 Responses
476246 tn?1418870914
It seems that it can survive for ca 4 days, if I'm not mistaken.
107513 tn?1232286464
Yes........it is not like the AIDS virus
691935 tn?1421027090
that's a good question.  For the average person I wonder what the sterilization procedures would be for surfaces, utensils , material (such as towels), etc.?   I can't find a lot on what the procedures are only that "proper" sterilization procedures need to be followed.
Avatar universal
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. The blood of an infected person must get into your bloodstream.  Hepatitis C is not spread through casual contact like shaking hands with, hugging, drinking after, or eating off the same plate with an infected person.  Precautions should always be taken if open sores in the mouth or on the skin are present and there is possible exposure.  Even bleach is not totally effective in killing the virus.  An autoclave is the only device than can properly sterilize but I think good common sense should be used and we should always follow the precautions regarding razors, razor blades, toothbrushes and other personal items.

Recent studies have shown that HCV can survive outside the body and still transmit infection for 16 hours, but not longer than 4 days.
547836 tn?1302832832
from the training course i took before tx, i was told that it can survive for 24 hrs and can be killed properly with bleach!
Avatar universal

You are probably correct and I pulled the information from handbook written by a leading hepatologist.  What he said was in reference to IDU as follows:
If a new syringe is not available, bleach syringes carefully.  In practice, bleach may not effectively kill HCV.  Research shows that IDUs did not leave bleach in their syringes long enough to kill HIV or HCV.  So perhaps it's more of how long the bleach should remain to kill the virus as opposed to it not completely killing the virus.  
In theory, if blood was on a countertop and you wanted to kill the virus, then pure bleach and no wiping with water until the virus is dead.  How long that takes, I don't know.
619345 tn?1310341421
the anwer is YES  see this article  the period of study which is more than 5 weeks see article below

691935 tn?1421027090
I wasn't referring to "casual contact" but kungurov's original question expanded.  My thought came when my husband, got a cut on this hand while weeding the lawn.  I noticed a blood splatter on the light switch.  He didn't even know he was cut!

I found this article, dated November 2008.  http://www.hcvets.com/data/transmission_methods/SterilantsDisinfectantsBleach.htm

"The current challenge of determining true infectivity limits our ability to evaluate appropriate dilution and exposure times. A 1:10 dilution of domestic bleach is commonly recommended for clean up of blood spills, and this concentration should be adequate to deal with HCV (and HBV) in blood18, although supportive evidence is lacking".

bottom line on this "supportive evidence is lacking".
Avatar universal
i have read that javex bleach wont kill ...druggies have been cleaning their machines for nothing....bleach does kill HIV tho
Avatar universal
bleach does not kill hep c....i meant to say
476246 tn?1418870914
I remember Dr. D. mentioning something about chlorine being the best viral killer... But he was referring to disinfecting earrings inherited from an hep c positive person.
Avatar universal
"Even bleach is not totally effective in killing the virus."

Bleach is extremely effective when it comes to killing hcv. Any virus that comes into contact with a 1:10 ratio of bleach:water is killed immediately. This is what hospitals use to clean much of their equipment, like scopes,and surfaces like tables in surgery. Its important for people to know that there is a way to disinfect blood spills, personal items, etc, by using a bleach solution. ML
Avatar universal
The jury is still out on this one. The scientific literature is not conclusive.

An excerpt from: The Effectiveness of Bleach in the Prevention of Hepatitis C Transmission - Final Report
3. Summary of the Data on the Use of Bleach as a Disinfectant

There have been a limited number of studies that attempted to demonstrate the effectiveness of bleach or related germicides against HCV (hepatitis C virus). Kapadia et al. examined associations between bleach use and HCV seroconversion using a nested case-controlc design. Compared to participants reporting no bleach use, they found that those who reported using bleach all the time had an odds ratio for HCV seroconversion of 0.35 and those reporting bleach use less than all the time had an odds ratio of 0.7652. ***However, this study did not have sufficient power to determine if these results were statistically significant.

Agolini et al. showed that another chlorine-based compound, sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC), at a dilution resulting in 2500ppm chlorine inhibited the binding of HCV to host cells, which might imply reduced infectivity. This inhibition reached a maximum of just 91.7% after a contact time of 10 minutes. As this chlorine compound is less sensitive than sodium hypochlorite (bleach) to inactivation by organic substances, household bleach might be even less effective.

In another study, Charrel et al. used molecular tests to evaluate the efficacy of two disinfectants for inactivating HCV: a 2% glutaraldehyde solution and a sodium hypochlorite with potassium permanganate and monosodium phosphate solution. Although the sodium hypochlorite-based disinfectant was able to inactivate HCV-positive serum, it did so only at concentrations greater than 90% (4500 parts/million active chlorine) after a contact time of 10 minutes.

Given its disinfectant properties and its success against other pathogens, including hepatitis B, bleach may be effective for disinfecting HCV-infected needles and other IDU equipment. However, the available literature is not conclusive.
Avatar universal
Although bleach kills hepatitis viruses under certain laboratory conditions, evidence suggests that these viruses may survive the 30-second bleach method currently used for HIV disinfection.
Avatar universal
Comparison of the effectiveness of bleach in preventing the transmission of HIV, hepatitis b, and hepatitis C.

Avatar universal
I think I vaguely remember this discussion being held before. Still, it is useful perhaps to talk about disinfection methods and proper cleaning because it is an issue that comes up once in awhile.

This is from the study you posted: "Studies have shown that contact time and soil load are the two most significant of these. Disinfection with an effective compound for an inadequate time may not succeed in inactivating sufficient amounts of the pathogen to render it non-infective. Likewise, residual organic compounds, such as blood or infected tissue, can significantly impair any disinfectant's ability to inactivate HCV, HBV, HIV or other pathogens. Therefore, even highly effective chemicals can fail to properly inactivate HCV in the absence of proper cleaning (removal of residual blood) of the devices that are being disinfected."  end excerpt

"in the absence of proper cleaning" and "inadequate time" are the key phrases when viewing the effectiveness of bleach solution in an IVDU setting. If the solution does not come into contact with all of the virus particles the process won't yield a 100% state of disinfection. I believe this is what the conclusions were from the IVDU studies.

Clorox's hospital bleach product states 5 minutes time to disinfect HCV. I'm sure they are erring liberally to the safe side. Stating that your product can elminate HCV 100% can certainly be a risky position to take if its not true and verifiable.


Other "experts" I've read concerning cleaning of syringes/needles say 10 min, and some say 20 minutes (for household bleach dilution of 1:10.) If one is still concerned at this point it can be diluted at 1:5 and this will yield 10,000 ppm sodium hypochlorite , more than 4X the strength used in one study you posted and over 2X the strength used in the other study.


With HCV being a lipid-coated virus , warm, soapy water probably does a much faster job of killing HCV than anything else. Although this wouldn't be nearly as efficient as other methods currently used in medical settings and may not be useful at all in uncoated viruses.

This is a good link for definitions and descriptions of disinfectants and how and when to use them:



Avatar universal
I am curious i accidentally  used my friends needle to sick up my stuff not realizing it then i saw and put it back in the mixer and cooked it twice did that kill any hep c that was present?
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