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infections in the everyday life of an MD
Jan 24, 2006

First of all: Thank you... I see that professors sometimes give us (MD students) just the basics of HIV-HBV-HCV transmission & knowledge... but they don't go such deep - and practical like you do !

I have some questions that concerns me a bit (like future health care worker and actual brother of a young child) and I did not receive an answer everywhere I've looked for. It would be a real pleasure for me to get an answer for you, dr. Dieterich.

1. People spoke a lot about HCV in dry blood.. and seems not to be real an issue for what it regards infection... BUT what about HBV (they say it can live up to 11 days on dry surfaces !)?

2. Let's say I touch some surface that has some dry blood on it... nothing "sticks to" my hand-fingers (I mean my finger does not turn red ) BUT do viruses stick to the finger, and then invisibly can pass on all of the things I touch further?

I mean: I touch a furniture with some dirt on it but my fingers seems to be clean BUT: lets say theres some HBV(HCV-HIV) on the surface (lying on a dry spot of blood for example), then I touch my mobile phone does it become contaminated? What if then- I bit my nails? What if I use my mobile phone, then I use my hands for eat a sandwich?

3. Is it HBV-HIV-HCV transmissible via Hands to mouth (I mean dirty-but-they-do-seem-clean-hands, and a mouth without visible break in it but mouth has a mucosal lining isnt it???)

This refers to children too: always touching, and always putting hands in mouth (I've just seen a child in the hospital crawling on the floor -that are not that clean ! not in a surgery ward !!!) and then putting hands in mouth !!!

Sorry, my questions may be stupid but I prefer to ask and to know, and to seem stupid, rather than not knowing and ACT like a stupid.

Thank you. M.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

I think you can relax about all of those remote ideas. Forget it. There really needs to be blood to blood contact for HCV and blood to mucosa contact for HBV, but it has to be a real contact and with infected blood. Wash your hands and enjoy your career! DTD



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