How long do germs live on a surface?

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    I was just curious, how long does MRSA, herpes, hep C, C. diff and VRE survive on a surface? If you know any of these please let me know. I know HIV doesn't survive very long outside the body. However, I am not sure about the others. I have heard Hep C can last for days.

    Anyway thanks.
    FireStarterRN likes this.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I was once told in an OSHA class that Hep B can live for up to 90 days, in dried blood, on a door knob. Scary!
  6. 3
    VRE can live for a very loooooong time on surfaces. most mrsa cultures come back postitve after you've taken care of the patient for days.....i just don't worry about it.......you can pick up most of these germs in your local wal-mart.......just wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands........it's the best you can do
    Simpleplan, Cindy-san, and BinkieRN like this.
  7. 0
    It depends on their structure. My microbio prof told us acidfast bacteria like TB can last for months, even after you wipe over them with alcohol etc.
    The CDC website has a load of information and studies about these types of things.
  8. 0
    I am curious about this, too. When I read about these long lifespans for germs on surfaces, they never tell me about the environmental conditions. I suspect that the environment was ideal for the organism, and that under normal conditions, the germ would only be infectious for a fraction of this time.

    I pick up trash along the road in my neighborhood. Among the things I have touched with my bare hands are a condom and a tampon applicator. Yes, it is gross (and I wash my hands thoroughly when I get home), but I doubt that infectious organisms survive for any length of time when they are exposed to the harsh outdoor conditions, including UV light.

    Living people are the best at spreading germs, and they can be hard to avoid.
  9. 2
    c-diff spores can live on surfaces up to 5 months, MRSA can live on hard surfaces for months and Hep C can live for 16 hours- up to 4 days. Hope this helps!
    Simpleplan and Cindy-san like this.
  10. 0
    Although I used the term "germ" in my previous post (rather than writing "pathogenic microorganisms potentially infectious to humans"), it bothers me when I read about products that kill germs, or about studies on the number of germs on a surface. The vast majority of microorganisms are harmless. I do not care if there are more germs on my keyboard or telephone than on my toilet seat. I am only interested in pathogenic organisms capable of infecting healthy people.
  11. 1
    some microorganisms are capable of living indefinitely; for example, of the genus clostridrium are able to form spores which enable them to survive harsh environmental conditions, thus preventing from dessication, for a long time. m
    Cindy-san likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from mshultz
    although i used the term "germ" in my previous post (rather than writing "pathogenic microorganisms potentially infectious to humans"), it bothers me when i read about products that kill germs, or about studies on the number of germs on a surface. the vast majority of microorganisms are harmless. i do not care if there are more germs on my keyboard or telephone than on my toilet seat. i am only interested in pathogenic organisms capable of infecting healthy people.

    wiki def of germ "microorganism, especially a pathogenic one"
    webster's 3rd def of germ "3: microorganism; especially : a microorganism causing disease"

    i have adapted this definition of the word germs after reading the book germs by judith miller, william broad, and stephen engelberg. not only is "germs" easier to type but it is also patient friendly. i believe the term germs more and more is evolving to only mean pathogenic, infectious, microscopic organisms. see that was a pain to type.
  13. 1
    Assuming you want to know about the most long lived...

    According to Nester (Nester, E. W., Anderson, D. G., Roberts, C. E., Jr., Nester, 2007), bacteria that form endospores such as Bacillus and Clostridium may remain dorman for perhaps 100 years. The text goes on to describe the problems that these types of bacteria pose because they can make their way into laboratories, hospitals, and medical devices. Clostridium genera include those bacteria that cause tetanus, gas gangrene, anthrax, and botulism.


    References

    Nester, E. W., Anderson, D. G., Roberts, C. E., Jr., Nester (2007). Microbiology: A human perspective (5th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Simpleplan likes this.


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