health and medicine question #1388



Jennifer Easterly, a 23 year old female from Sydney, NS asks on April 11, 2003,

Q:

Can you contract diseases if someone's saliva gets in your eyes? A really disgusting thing happened to me the other day. I was walking down the street and there was a strong breeze. Two people walking in front of me were talking and all off a sudden this spray of spit hits me in the face and gets into my eyes. After the initial feeling of total disgust I started to worry about this guy's health. What if he had HIV, or some other contagious disease? Is it possible it get infected in this bizarre way?

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the answer

David Speert answered on April 13, 2003, A:

It depends on the infectious agent. For HIV the answer appears to be no. For respiratory infectious agents, transmission does probably occur from respiratory tract to eye. [Editor: these might include bacterial agents like streptococcus which causes "strep throat" or conjunctivitis, "Pink Eye", or viral agents like those that cause the common cold. Chances are: your immune system will handle it.]

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