Thousands of Patients Being Checked for Hepatitis C

Expanded testing would include 6,000 people who were treated in operating rooms or ICU at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, where a medical technician faces charges. He worked at hospitals in seven states, CNN reported.

World Hepatitis Day on July 28 is especially significant this year because thousands of people who were treated at hospitals in six states are being tested to see whether they were infected with Hepatitis C during their hospitalization because of the actions of David Kwiatkowski, a medical technician now facing charges in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health Services on July 24 expanded its testing recommendations for a hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital, where Kwiatkowski had worked. The division asked that about 6,000 people -- everyone who was a patient in the hospital's operating rooms and its intensive care unit between April 1, 2011, and May 25, 2012 -- be tested for possible exposure to hepatitis C.

"As part of our investigation, we have uncovered additional information that has indicated the suspect, while working in the hospital's Cardiac Catheritization Lab, may also have accessed these other areas of the hospital," said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. "As we have said, this investigation is ongoing, and additional testing may be necessary to help all patients who may have been infected. While the risk of exposure to this newly identified group of patients is very low, we want to be take every measure to protect the public and so we are recommending that they come in to be tested."

There are five hepatitis viruses: types A, B, C, D, and E. Effective vaccines are available for all except C. Types B and C can be asymptomatic in their early stages for many infected people, who then become aware of their infection when they are chronically ill. These two are the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer, accounting for almost 80 percent of all liver cancer cases, according to WHO. "The vast majority of people infected with hepatitis are unaware, undiagnosed, and untreated," said Dr. Sylvie Briand of WHO's Pandemic and Epidemic Disease Department. "Only by increasing awareness of the different forms of hepatitis, and how they can be prevented and treated can we take the first step towards full control of the disease and save thousands of lives."

Although Kwiatkowski worked at four hospitals in Maryland between May 2008 and March 2010, it's not clear that he was infected with the virus while working at them, The Baltimore Sun recently reported. CNN reported Kwiatkowski worked as a traveling medical technician on a contract basis for hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. He is charged with illegally obtaining Fentanyl and infecting 30 patients at Exeter Hospital with hepatitis C.

Both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, can lead to chronic, life-long infections. While Hepatitis B is vaccine-preventable, most people who become infected with Hepatitis C later develop a chronic infection, according to CDC.

Download Center

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2021

    November December 2021

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      How to Streamline Gas Detector Maintenance
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2021
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      How PPE Can Help You Deal with the Harsh Condition of Winter
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Tackling Hearing Protection in the Workplace
    View This Issue