Can The Hepatitis C Virus Survive Outside the Body?

Last Editorial Review: 6/15/2017

Ask the experts

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

Doctor's response

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.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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