[Question #7665] Oral Herpes Transmission (HSV-1)

10 days ago
Hi,

I had asked a question a few months ago. One of my friends has oral herpes (HSV-1) and I was worried that my husband had drank from her bottle.

I just had a follow up question on that - How do you disinfect the dishes and utensils used by someone who has oral herpes?

So far she has been careful that she keeps her separate dishes and utensils that no one else uses. 

However, today she came over and ate in my dishes. I rinsed it with dish soap and water and then put it in the dishwasher. However, I don’t know if that is sufficient to disinfect the plate. Can you please let me know if that was sufficient? 

Is there the slightest chance for herpes to be transmitted through that dish when I use it later?

Also, what is the best way to disinfect dishes used by someone with oral herpes? Or should they always just keep their own separate dishes and utensils?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
9 days ago
Disinfecting is not necessary.  If you are concerned about transmission in this manner, which I don't think you need to be but that's OK, just wash with regular soap and water.  The herpes simplex virus is surrounded by a lipid layer and soap destroys this layer, causing the virus to fall apart completely.  If you run the dish through the dishwasher, there is zero chance you will get herpes from the dish.  It is not necessary to separate these dishes from others, no.

Terri
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8 days ago

Thanks for your reply Terri. I’m still getting a great deal of anxiety about this as my in-laws live with me and use these dishes and they are too old so I don’t want them to catch this and possibly pass it on to my kids in the future.


Also I wasn’t around whenever they turned the dishwasher on, so I worry if they took it out and washed it by hand by any chance. 


I had washed it by hand using dishwashing liquid (without sponge) before putting it in the dishwasher though. 

But I’m extremely tensed about whether that was sufficient or not.


So here are my follow up questions:


1) When you say wash it with regular soap and water, do you mean hand soap (which I believe is more effective) or dishwashing liquid soap? 


2) If I washed it using just dishwashing liquid using just my hands (no sponge), would that clean the plate enough to remove the the risk of HSV-1 transmission completely to zero risk?


3) Does it need to be an anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid?


4) Does washing it in the dishwasher reduce the risk more than washing it by hand? If yes, is there any specific reason?


5) Does washing it in the dishwasher remove the HSV-1 transmission risk completely to zero risk?


6) If I am still really scared and paranoid, and want to disinfect those dishes, can you please let me know the best way to disinfect them? Should I use bleach, is that safe? Or boiling water?


Thank you so much for your help. I really want my in-laws and family to be safe and it's causing me a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
8 days ago

Before I answer these questions, I think you are WAAAAY overestimating the contagiousness of HSV through non-sexual or oral means.


1) When you say wash it with regular soap and water, do you mean hand soap (which I believe is more effective) or dishwashing liquid soap?

Either!


2) If I washed it using just dishwashing liquid using just my hands (no sponge), would that clean the plate enough to remove the the risk of HSV-1 transmission completely to zero risk?

Yes!


3) Does it need to be an anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid?

NO!


4) Does washing it in the dishwasher reduce the risk more than washing it by hand? If yes, is there any specific reason?

No, any kind of soap destroys the virus


5) Does washing it in the dishwasher remove the HSV-1 transmission risk completely to zero risk?

Absolutely


6) If I am still really scared and paranoid, and want to disinfect those dishes, can you please let me know the best way to disinfect them? Should I use bleach, is that safe? Or boiling water?

I am not even going to answer this because it is way out of the range of possibility.  Either handwashing or dishwashing is more than adequate.


Terri

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5 days ago

Hi Terri, thank you again for answering my questions. 


So since I hand washed the dish, I don’t have to worry about even the slightest risk to my in-laws, right? 


I know it might seem a bit excessive but there is surprisingly little to no information about this online. There is literally no website that confirms that just regularly hand-washing a dish/utensils/cups with any dishwashing liquid completely removes the HSV-1 virus to 0% risk - thank you for providing me with that confirmation!


There is only one New Zealand website that says you can wash it with soap and water, but doesn’t confirm if that removes the HSV-1 virus fully. Maybe it’s common knowledge but I have never known anyone with herpes so this is still brand new to me. 


Also I read a thread on this forum where a woman said that sharing a straw with her 2 year old daughter gave her oral herpes, as she has been tested negative several times before that. So makes me more concerned about non-sexual/non-oral exposure.


Nevertheless, I really appreciate you and the team of doctors helping myself and others through this. 


Unless you have any additional advice for me, I have no more questions other than the one reconfirmation above. Thank you again.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
5 days ago
Not the slightest risk!
Since the IgG test misses 30% of HSV 1 infections, I have no faith in that internet report at all.  That's just silly, in my opinion.  How would her 2 year old daughter have gotten it if not from an adult?
Please believe that your friend presents zero risk to your inlaws or to you if she is only eating at your home. 

Terri
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