How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Rick, MD Your Own Question
Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11419
Experience:  20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. Rick, MD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How do saliva and raw meat germs last (i.e, are active and

This answer was rated:

How long do saliva and raw meat germs last (i.e, are active and can cause harm?)
Someone accidentally spilled a bag of raw meat (soaking in water) all over the kitchen floor. The raw meat juice has since then been tracked onto a carpet. How long can salmonella and other bacteria cause food poisoning? 7 days afterwards? What about an eye infection from salmonella and other raw meat germs?
In addition isn't it true that human saliva contains bacteria that can cause necrotizing fasciitis? How long do those germs remain alive and harmful on a surface like a towel?


I'm Camille, and I’m a moderator for this topic.

We have been working with the professionals to try to help you with your question. Sometimes it may take a bit of time to find the right fit.

I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still needing assistance from one of the professionals.

Please let me know if you wish to continue waiting or if you would like for us to close your question.

Also remember that we have a multitude of categories to help you with all your needs from Health, Pets, Computers, Cars, Finance, Law, to Home Improvement, and more.

Thank you,


Hi. Dr Rick here. I completed an Internal medicine internship in NYC and have two decades of clinical experience.
They do not stay active long enough to worry about when spilled on the floor or carpet. Cleaning them with warm dilute bleach solution will kill 'em all. If you have colored carpet, use any commercial cleaning agent to inactive the germs.
They die quickly on a surface of a towel too. Once again, if you are worried, run the towel through the washer after one use. Although, in my house, we use bath towels over again before washing.
Human saliva will not hurt you unless, perhaps, your are viciously bitten by someone and you leave the wound untreated.
Does this make sense to you?
I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.
Thanks in advance,
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How long would the raw meat germs stay alive if never treated with any bleach or chemicals at all - just left as is?

And is human saliva harmless if it somehow accidentally gets in one's eyes?

On a surface like you have discussed, they would probably die within 15 minutes, most likely faster on the carpet.
Don't forget to mash the positive feedback button for me...the one labeled "excellent" is the most fun to push by far ;)
It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How do bacteria die so fast? I thought they live for days on a surface like a carpet. What makes them die so fast?

And is human saliva harmless if it somehow accidentally gets in one's eyes?

They can not handle the cooler room temps and the drying out.
Yes. It is completely harmless if it gets in your eyes.
Time to mash the excellent feedback button like you have done 91 times before :)
have a good weekend.
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11419
Experience: 20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
Dr. Rick, MD and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like to ask a follow-up question to this question, but would that cost any additional charge?

Usually, yes. But I would be happy to help you with an additional question at no extra charge -- especially since you are such a good JA customer :)
What can I do for you this evening?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK, thank you!

My question is, why does raw meat bacteria die within 15 minutes upon exposure to a surface like a countertop or carpet, when supposedly food that is left at room temperature goes bad and breeds bacteria after a few hours and those bacteria keep growing?

This seems to suggest that raw meat bacteria are different than food poisoning bacteria?

Also, raw meat parasites could live for days or weeks at room temperature, right? Can they cause blindness if gotten into the eyes?

Many different types of bacteria can cause food poisoning and most of them live all around each and every day and usually don't cause any issues.
Bacteria can not handle drying out or getting too cold. As such when on a cold and mostly dry surface like a counter top they die off quickly.
When they are in a nice moist, safe environment like a chunk of food they become fruitful and multiply.
Make sense to you?
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK, thank you! What about the raw meat parasites, their survival, and their effect on human eyes?

That would be another question ;-)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, thank you.

My pleasure.
Have a good evening
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What about raw seafood such as raw shrimp and raw fish? Do their germs only survive for half an hour or less on an external surface such as a countertop, too?

What if those germs are on external human skin? Do they survive longer because of the body warmth temperature?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.