How Long Does Herpes Virus Live On Objects

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How Long Does Herpes Virus Live On Objects
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How Long Does Herpes Virus Live On Objects; Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is very easy to inactivate; you only need to expose it to a temperature greater than 56oC for 30 minutes and pH less than 4.  You can also pasteurize it for 10 hours at 60oC.  It can equally be microwaved for four minutes.

The virus can survive for just a short period outside the host’s body.  It can equally live on dry inanimate objects and can remain viable for up to 8 weeks. When the humidity is lower, their survival rate increases.

How long does HSV live on an object?

HSV is the cause of sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It can also live for long on certain objects, like medical equipment, clothing, towels and toilet seats; this is line with a study conducted by researchers at the University of California.

A pediatrician and research fellow at the University of California’s Los Angeles campus, Dr. Trudy Larson, stated that the HSV used in her research were obtained from infected patients.

The general understanding about HSV before that time was that the infection could only be contacted via sexual intercourse. However, this new research punctured hole in that understanding.  This showed the world that it is possible to get HSV infection via non-sexual means. It also shows that one can get without having any form of physical contact with the affected person.

While Larson said the indirect contact might not be a viable means of getting the infection; she also said it is a possibility.  She stated that there is no viable proof yet of such a thing ever occurring. She, however, cautioned that people should be wary of this possibility and take precautions to be on the safer side.


The public health significance of the findings by Dr. Larson was later questioned by Dr. Paul Wisener, who is the head of venereal disease control for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  He insisted that there is no viable evidence yet to show that HSV can be transmitted via non-sexual means.

He went further by saying adults who newly contracted the virus usually have a previous history of unprotected sexual conduct.  He also said any baby that has the virus must have gotten it during vaginal birth if the mother has an active HSV infection.

To buttress Dr. Wisener’s submission, Dr. Steven Straus, who is a herpes expert at the National Institute of Health, said in checking how long herpes virus lives in an object, presence of the virus on inanimate objects, like toilet seat and towel does not mean it can be spread to other people who come in contact with these inanimate objects, even if the virus is available in large number.

Dr. Larson agreed with the two of them but insisted that doctors at UCLA have come across cases of genital warts infection in adults and children, who never had any previous sexual encounter.

There are two forms of HSV diseases. There is Types 1, which is responsible for cold sores or fever blisters in the mouth region.  However, the Type 2 was discovered recently to be transmitted via sexual means to the genital region and can manifest as recurring sores, causing pain.

You should keep in mind that there is no cure for this infection; patients are only treated symptomatically. Above 300,000 cases of HSV infection are being reported in the United States on a yearly basis.

The study from UCLA provided above was reported at the Society of Paediatric Research and American Paediatric Society’s joint meeting.

Samples of both types of HSV were isolated from the genital lesions of infected patients and then transmitted to various surfaces. One form of genital herpes patient was also asked to sit on the toilet seat briefly.

Afterward, samples were collected by Dr. Yvonne Bryson and Dr. Larson, after which they were cultured under standard laboratory conditions to check for their viability.

It was then discovered that the virus could survive on the toilet seat for up to 4 hours.  HSV also survived for up to eight hours on medical instruments used commonly for genital examination.  The survival period on cotton gauze was 72 hours. Survival period after transmission to a plastic surface from a glove print is about one hour.

Larson expressed her concern about the transmission of the virus on towels and clothing because of their long survival on gauze. She fears such transmission can be more frequent among families and roommates of infected individuals.

The virus will need first to enter the human body before it can become infectious, and it can only enter via openings to mucous membranes of the genital and mouth.

Larson then advised those infected by HSV to practice good hygiene and be more aware. She said they should place a paper cover on toilet seats before sitting on it. She also stated that the virus could be killed by bleach.

How Long Does Herpes Virus Live On Objects: HSV incubation period

The incubation period for HSV can be as long as 26 days. The incubation period for orolabial HSV infection can be as long as 12 days and an average of four days.  You can get genital herpes after five days of infection. You can also get genital lesion after about 24 days of the infection especially via organ transplantation if the organ is infected.

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