Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
137 Doctors are Online

Hepatitis C, cut on hand, tiny invisible particles of blood. Will it spread?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 65 Questions
Blood spread around household

Hi Doc,

A friend of mine who has Hep C (not sure of hep b status) recently cut his hand badly whilst at my house. He immediately washed his hand and covered the cut with a bandage. At the time I never thought anything more about it.

It was only 3 days later that I became really paranoid that there might be tiny invisible particles of blood on door handles, light switches, taps and the sink itself. I have a little boy who is always covered in cuts and grazes, and regularly picks at scabs etc etc. What would be the risks if he did this with the virus on his hands? I am also worried that the virus was splashed over toothbrushes when my friend washed his hand in the sink.

I have read that Hep c can survive on surfaces for up to 4 days and Hep B for even longer. I did check and could see no traces of blood. Could even miniscule invisible amounts of blood still be infectious after a short period of times assuming it came into contact with an open cut (via rubbing a graze, picking a scab etc)? Or am I being overly paranoid?

Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Banait 45 hours later

Surface contamination is one of the route through which blood borne organisms spread. As you correctly mentioned, hepatitis C survives 4 days while hepatitis B survives 6 weeks.

Though rare, the development of hepatitis C through surface contamination is a chance occurance with exact probability unknown. Hence I would advise you to get tested for HBV RNA PCR after two weeks and/or HCV (ELISA) after 6 weeks if you suspect exposure. There is no vaccine available.

Discard toothbrushes if you suspect splashes on these articles. Clean surfaces with lysol/ bacillocide. Use gloves. And don't touch articles like cell phone, glasses while you are using gloves.

Do not panic. The risk is extremely low.

Hope this helps.


Vaibhav Banait
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Medical Topics

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Internal Med Specialist

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor