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Hep B infection through food?
Sep 28, 2004

Dear Doctor Dieterich.

If you can get Hep B from using toothbrushes infected with microscopic blood specks, is it also possible to become infected with Hep B through eating food contaminated by similar invisible particles (acquired from, say, dirty hands)?

Also, could you possibly explain the science as to why these self-same invisible particles, lurking on environmental and public surfaces, cannot be passed between two dry surfaces or be transferred onto people's hands.

Sorry to bother you with these concerns.

Thank you so much.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Tootbrushing has the possibility of passing blood to blood from cuts on the gums. Just swallowing particles of HBV is not really an issue. Hepatitis A on the other hand is virtually always passed by swallowing. The skin protects us from most viruses unless it is broken or cut. DTD



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