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How Long Pathogens Live on Surfaces


Senior Member
Ever wonder just how long viruses, bacteria, fungi can live on surfaces in your home or out in the world? Here's how long.

Most gram-positive bacteria, such as Enterococcus spp. (including VRE), Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA), or Streptococcus pyogenes, survive for months on dry surfaces. Many gram-negative species, such as Acinetobacter spp., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Serratia marcescens, or Shigella spp., can also survive for months. A few others, such as Bordetella pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae, Proteus vulgaris, or Vibrio cholerae, however, persist only for days. Mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and spore-forming bacteria, including Clostridium difficile, can also survive for months on surfaces. Candida albicans as the most important nosocomial fungal pathogen can survive up to 4 months on surfaces. Persistence of other yeasts, such as Torulopsis glabrata, was described to be similar (5 months) or shorter (Candida parapsilosis, 14 days). Most viruses from the respiratory tract, such as corona, coxsackie, influenza, SARS or rhino virus, can persist on surfaces for a few days. Viruses from the gastrointestinal tract, such as astrovirus, HAV, polio- or rota virus, persist for approximately 2 months. Blood-borne viruses, such as HBV or HIV, can persist for more than one week. Herpes viruses, such as CMV or HSV type 1 and 2, have been shown to persist from only a few hours up to 7 days.

The most common nosocomial pathogens may well survive or persist on surfaces for months and can thereby be a continuous source of transmission if no regular preventive surface disinfection is performed.


Senior Member
Devils aren't they, I saw a programme on Great Ormand Street and a fairly major operation with every precaution you can imagine there and the child died from an infection later despite antivirals, antibiotics, anti fungals. Very sad for the Docs - how much more we need to understand these blighters !.


Senior Member
I learned this first hand back when I was making kombucha tea. The containers I'd used
for tea continued to grow scobies with anything I put in them. Even my pau d arco + olive leaf + clove
tea formed a scoby. One round of bleach killed it tho.

I wonder how resiliant we've made these by trying to kill them with lysol, bleach, etc ?

I just found out that my healthy dish washing soap won't cut meat fat either. I had to go back to using dawn.

I just bleached all my kitchen ware this past sunday since I had h pylori and parasites a few months ago. What a pain that was ..

Tc .. X
I used to do research on human muscle tissue. I know how resilient bacteria, fungi etc are when it came to autoclave my equipment, however, prions are the worst. Instead of autoclaving at 121C, I had to go to 136C to kill the prions.

Depends on how you wash hands to remove bugs etc. I find using that Purell gel stuff (the water free stuff) is just as effective as soap.