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How Long Can Pathogens Live on Surfaces?

pathogen lifespan

Knowing how long pathogens live and how to avoid them will protect you and your loved ones.

Pathogens from blood or other infectious materials can be extremely dangerous to human health. Hepatitis C, E. Coli, and other illnesses can be caused by coming into contact with these materials, and these illnesses have the potential to completely derail a person’s life.

It is important to know the statistics on how long these pathogens can survive on surfaces and how to handle them.

Pathogen Statistics

Biohazard is a term that is used to describe harmful biological material, such as Hepatitis C, that can live outside of the body and be transferred to another human when it comes into contact with them. This includes bloodborne pathogens, pathogens spreading from human waste, and even animal waste.

These pathogens can be split into two major categories. The first one is the most common, known as bloodborne pathogens, or simply put, pathogens that are transmitted through the blood. The second category is known as “other potentially infectious materials,” such as feces, bile, and urine. If not handled and cleaned up properly, these pathogens can survive and come into contact with unsuspecting individuals, increasing their risk of becoming seriously ill.

E. Coli, which is often found in feces, can live on hard surfaces for four days. If the surface is wet, however, this can increase up to 14 days. E. Coli can make individuals seriously ill and, according to the CDC, infects about 309,000 individuals every year and has a death rate of 405.

Norovirus can be found in half-eaten food or on the cups of drinks (this is especially hazardous for those living in hoarding conditions). This virus can last for a few days or up to a month on surfaces, depending on the conditions surrounding the contamination site. Norovirus is known to cause vomiting and diarrhea.

C. difficile is a bacteria that causes inflammation of the colon and extreme diarrhea. If an individual comes into contact with a contaminated surface, such as where a child had an accident on the floor, then that individual is at risk of contracting the bacteria.

MRSA, also known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an extremely dangerous bacteria that can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on where it first entered the body. This particular staph infection is more difficult to treat as it is resistant to most antibiotics. If left untreated, MRSA can result in breathing problems by causing pneumonia and infecting surgical sites. This type of bacteria can survive for weeks on surfaces.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. This illness can either be chronic or acute and is spread by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids. Hepatitis B can live on surfaces for a few weeks.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection that is caused by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood. As with hepatitis B, Hepatitis C can live on surfaces for a few weeks.

How Do I Protect Myself or My Employees?

If your job or personal life has you running into the risk of coming into contact with bloodborne pathogens or any potentially infectious materials, it is important to do the following:

  1. Never handle blood or potentially infectious bodily fluid with your bare hands. Always use protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, and face masks.
  2. Quickly clean up blood or other potentially infectious materials with soap and water, or absorb it with kitty litter or baking soda, to limit individuals’ exposure.
  3. Properly dispose of all contaminated materials, including gloves, in a biohazard waste bag and ensure the bag is properly sealed before disposing of it.
  4. Make sure to wash hands thoroughly before returning to work.
  5. Report any exposure to these pathogens, such as it got on your bare skin, immediately so you can get proper medical attention.

Larger Biohazard Cleanup

If you are facing a special biohazard case, such as hoarding, undiscovered death, or crime that resulted in heavy blood loss, you will need to contact the specialists at Red Responders. Our Biohazard Remediation Technicians and Hoarding Removal specialists will be able to help you get your home and office back on track.

We will discreetly come in and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area and restore it to its original condition. Contact our team today for more information!

Free Cleanup Estimate

Call 817-773-9035 or request a call back now to receive your free no-obligation estimate.

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