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Can a Hep B Virus Survive Outside the Body?

by Chari Cohen, Hepatitis B Expert
May 23, 2019

Question: Is it true that the Hep B virus can survive outside the body?

Answer:

The hepatitis B virus is very viable outside of the body, meaning it can survive outside of the body for a significant amount of time.  Live virus can be recovered from a surface for up to 7 days.  However, each day the virus is exposed to the air it will lose some of it's strength (it becomes less infectious each day).  In cleaning any blood spill area it is always advisable to use universal precautions (wear gloves) and a fresh solution of 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts of water.  Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning a blood spill and throw away all cleaning materials in a plastic bag.

 

Chari Cohen is Senior Vice President of Public Health for the Hepatitis B Foundation.

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