Dr. Suresh Kumar Singhvi, Contact : +91-9560703966

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi 110060. OPD - F90 : .

Hepatitis C: Who’s at risk and how long does the virus survive outside the body?

Who’s at risk?

  • Some people are at increased risk for Hepatitis C, including:

  • Current injection drug users.

  • Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago.

  • Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs.

  • Dialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure.

  • People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments.

  • People with known exposures to the Hepatitis C virus,

such as:

  • Health care workers injured by needle sticks.

  • Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus

  • HIV-infected persons

  • Children born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus

Less common risks include:

  • Having sexual contact with a person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

  • Sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes, that may have come in contact with the blood of an infected person.

Risk of a pregnant woman passing Hepatitis C to her baby

Hepatitis C is rarely passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. About 4 of every 100 infants born to mothers with Hepatitis C become infected with the virus. However, the risk becomes greater if the mother has both HIV infection and Hepatitis C.

How long does the Hepatitis C virus survive outside the body?

The Hepatitis C virus can survive outside the body at room temperature, on environmental surfaces, for at least 16 hours but no longer than 4 days. Hepatitis C virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. It is also not spread through food or water.