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Injury & Infection
Jan 30, 2013

Hi David,

I would appreciate your support for my inquiry below. One day, I was at one of the governmental offices, and as I was rushing to the counter where my number was being called, my leg skin (below my knee) got severely scratshed by one of the chairs in the hall. The wound was deep & profound. It was like I got injured with a knife or a very long nail. I kept bleeding for like an hour. I am not sure if I was injured by the edge of the bottom stainless steel bar below the seat, or by the stainless steel cylinderical rod at the side of the seat. But anyway, I am so concerned because I am afraid that someone infected with either HIV or HEP C might have been injured the same way I was, by the same chair, shortly before I got injured. I heard that HEP C can live on surfaces for a week. I also heard that viruses stay for a long time on hard surfaces such as stainless steel, which applies to my case. What are my chances of getting infected with HEP C and/or HIV, given that incident? Appreciate your prompt feedback

Response from Dr. Wohl

There is no risk here for HIV. The chances of there being fresh blood with enough virus to infect you with anything on the sharp part of the chair is infinitesimally small. You have a greater risk of a bacterial infection from the organisms on your own skin than infection with a virus from another person.

I would not worry about this at all.

DW



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