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Sunday, March 29, 2009

VA Hospitals Infect Thousands w/ Hepatitis C&B, HIV

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 27 Mar 2009
Source: msnbc Health, Associated Press report [edited]

10 colonoscopy patients have hepatitis
Equipment used on thousands of patients [more than 10 000 -- see
comment below. - Mod.JW] at 3 facilities wasn't properly sterilized.
The Veterans Affairs (VA) department says 10 people have tested
positive [so far] for infectious liver disease since they were exposed
to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. The 10 are among thousands of
patients who have been warned to get blood tests since being treated
at VA facilities in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Miami [Florida] &
Augusta, Georgia. All 3 sites failed to properly sterilize
equipment between treatments.

VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said Friday [27 Mar 2009] that 4
Tennessee patients have tested positive for hepatitis B. A total of 6
have tested positive for hepatitis C, a potentially life-threatening
form of the viral infection that can cause permanent liver damage.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Brent Barrett

[The 10 identified hepatitis patients seem to have contracted
infection during examination by colonoscopy at the VA hospital in
Tennessee. The faulty procedure (inadequate sterilization of
equipment) seems to have been followed at the other 2 hospsitals,
although cases of hepatitis have not yet been reported. Blood-borne
transmission of infection should not be an accompaniment of any
hospital procedure. The precise number of patients exposed at each
hospital has not been disclosed. Further information would be

The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the USA at:
can be used to locate
the states of Tennessee and Georgia. - Mod.CP]

[The Miami VA notified about 3260 patients who received colonoscopies
between May 2004 and March 12 of this year [2009] that they may have
been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. It has suspended
colonoscopies. At the Murfreesboro hospital, 6400 veterans might have
been exposed, according to the VA. At the Augusta, Ga., VA hospital,
1100 veterans might have been exposed.

- Mod.JW]

[see also:
Hepatitis B & C, HIV, nosocomial (04): USA (NV) 20080928.3073
Hepatitis B & C, hemodialysis unit - Canada (ON) 20060521.1439
Hepatitis B & C and subdermal electrodes (7) 19960321.0524]

SEE ALSO: Thousands In New Jersey at Risk for Hepatitis B and HIV
The New Jersey Health Department has reportedly sent out letters to about 2,800 patients who receive medical care from two offices owned by Doctor Parvez Dara in New Jersey, urging them to get tested for Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The warning letters were prompted by an ongoing investigation which has so far determined that 5 patients have tested positive for Hepatitis B after visiting the same doctor's offices, including the office Tom's River.

According to reports in the media, one state medical official believes he knows what has prompted the scare and that is the failure of certain staff at the practice not washing their hands or changing gloves when they should have. Hepatitis B is a blood borne virus that can be spread through contaminated bodily fluids.

According to health officials, some people spontaneously clear the hepatitis B virus, while others need treatment. With respect to HIV, however, there is currently no curative treatment.

APRIL-02-09: Thousands Could Be At Risk In N.J. Hepatitis Scare [WCBTV: THOUSANDS AT RISK FOR HEPATITIS B IN NJ]

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