JOURNAL ARTICLE

Inactivation and survival of hepatitis C virus on inanimate surfaces

Juliane Doerrbecker, Martina Friesland, Sandra Ciesek, Thomas J Erichsen, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Jörg Steinmann, Jochen Steinmann, Thomas Pietschmann, Eike Steinmann
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2011 December 15, 204 (12): 1830-8
22013220

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) cross-contamination from inanimate surfaces or objects has been implicated in transmission of HCV in health-care settings and among injection drug users. We established HCV-based carrier and drug transmission assays that simulate practical conditions to study inactivation and survival of HCV on inanimate surfaces.

METHODS: Studies were performed with authentic cell culture derived viruses. HCV was dried on steel discs and biocides were tested for their virucidal efficacy against HCV. Infectivity was determined by a limiting dilution assay. HCV stability was analyzed in a carrier assay for several days or in a drug transmission assay using a spoon as cooker.

RESULTS: HCV can be dried and recovered efficiently in the carrier assay. The most effective alcohol to inactivate the virus was 1-propanol, and commercially available disinfectants reduced infectivity of HCV to undetectable levels. Viral infectivity on inanimate surfaces was detectable in the presence of serum for up to 5 days, and temperatures of about 65-70°C were required to eliminate infectivity in the drug transmission assay.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are important for assessment of HCV transmission risks and should facilitate the definition of stringent public health interventions to prevent HCV infections.

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