Sep 2, 2006
dear barbara mcgovern MD. i have asked you a question about HCV ten days ago and still didn`t get an answer. i wonder if i made a mistake, so that you didn`t get my question. its very important for me, because at the moment i am writing exam and i cant concentrate on it, till i know what i asked you. i know you are not knowing exactly how long HCV can survive outside of the body. but can you tell me if it is possible that HCV can survive outside of the body for 9 months. and could i get infected if i get injured and there is so little blood that one can`t see it with the naked eye. would that be enough. it would be so friendly i you can answer me as soon as possible. best wishes for you
Response from Dr. McGovern
I am sorry you have not had your question answered. I can only answer a fraction of the hundreds of questions I receive. I don't ignore questions. I just can't read and answer all the mail I receive. I wish more people could know that! I get so many good questions. I just got back in town and happened to read your question, purely by chance.
The main issue in concerns about acquiring HCV is not related to how long the virus stays viable "outside". The issue is whether a critical amount of virus gets into the bloodstream - either by injection drugs, or rarely through sex. Transmission by sex for example appears to increase if someone has a genital ulcer, which breaks down the skin barrier so the virus has easy access. Sharing needles also crosses the skin barrier into blood vessels where virus can then get into the bloodstream.
You don't get HCV through casual contact, kissing, touching toilet seats, etc.
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