Digestion Q&A by Dr. Marks

Is it correct that the hepatitis C virus cannot survive for more than two hours outside the human body?

Medical Author Dr. Jay W. Marks
Medical Editor Dr. Dennis Lee


No, that is not correct. The hepatitis C virus is transmitted from person to person primarily, though not exclusively, in blood products, and most commonly, by the transfer of blood between intravenous drug abusers who share needles. In blood--inside or out of the body--the virus can live for weeks, months, and even years. That is why hepatitis C was a problem related to blood transfusion until tests were developed to diagnose its presence in blood so that persons or units of blood for transfusion that were infected with the virus could be detected.

Thank you for your question.

REFERENCE: UpToDate. Patient information: Hepatitis C (Beyond the Basics).

Last Editorial Review: 6/13/2014

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