I was in a debate with someone about some religious topics. And one of them was a religious treatment ritual that included taking someone else's saliva and throwing water on his back then mixing both (the washing water and the saliva), then the person to treat should bathe using this water.

I insisted that this is wrong and it can transfer diseases, but my friend was not convinced.

Am I right? Are there any bacteria or viruses that can be transferred through washing water or saliva? Note that the treated person doesn't drink that. He just uses it to wash his body.

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1 Answer 1


There are a number of diseases that can be transmitted through saliva. These include:

  • Rhinovirus (colds)
  • Flu virus
  • Epstein-Barr virus (mononucelosis, or mono)
  • Type 1 herpes (cold sores)
  • Strep bacteria
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • Cytomegalovirus (a risk for babies in the womb)


Note that Ebola may also be in that list.

However, from what you describe I'd say the chances of an infection occurring are low since the saliva will be highly diluted and the person is bathing in it rather than drinking it. But the possibility still exists because water could be splashed in the eyes, nose or mouth, or they could have open sores. Given the severity of some of those diseases, I wouldn't advise the practice.

  • tanks for clarifying that
    – Ahmedn1
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 10:27

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