West Virginia Health Department Expands HCV Notification

Four cases were identified as a result of the Bureau for Public Health's hotline, but they cannot be conclusively linked to the Raleigh Heart Clinic in Beckley, W.Va., State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta said.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Public Health issued an expanded patient notification on May 9 directed to people who may have received a stress test at the Raleigh Heart Clinic in Beckley, W.Va., with injectable medications prior to March 1, 2012, after four additional cases of Hepatitis C were found, the department announced.

The bureau had issued 2,311 notifications on March 11, 2016, to patients of Raleigh Heart Clinic who underwent stress testing with injectable medications administered during their tests at the clinic between March 1, 2012, and March 27, 2015. The notification informed them of a possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens. "Four additional cases of hepatitis C, contracted prior to March 1, 2012, have since been detected by the Bureau for Public Health following the outbreak investigation into the Raleigh Heart Clinic," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner and State Health Officer. "The four cases were discovered as a result of the success of the hotline but cannot be conclusively linked to the clinic. At this time, we are expanding the patient notification to recommend, that as a precaution, all persons who may have received a stress test at the Raleigh Heart Clinic with injectable medications prior to March 1, 2012, should consider getting tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus."

The bureau and the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department, with CDC's assistance, originally investigated several cases of viral hepatitis that appeared to be associated with stress tests performed at the clinic, and they identified two groups of hepatitis C infections (affecting eight patients receiving cardiac stress tests on three different days) and two groups of hepatitis B infections (affecting four patients receiving cardiac stress tests on two different days).

Those who want to be tested may receive testing by their health care provider or local health department; according to the bureau, which operates a hotline 1-800-642-8244 to answer questions from patients of the clinic.

At least two lawsuits have been filed against the clinic since late March by two women who were patients, the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Elaina Sauber reported May 9.

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