Number of NH Hospital Hepatitis C Cases Grows to 27

CONCORD, N.H.—The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) announced on Monday additional results related to the testing of patients who were treated at Exeter Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab (CCL) and its recovery room since Oct. 1, 2010. Six more cases of hepatitis C were recently identified as matching the strain of the outbreak, bringing the total to 27. Of these 27 patients, one is also an Exeter Hospital employee.

DPHS continues to send samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing. Additional results will be forthcoming from the CDC over the next several weeks. In addition to the 27 cases related to the outbreak, 12 people have been identified with hepatitis C that does not match the outbreak strain.

“This is still very much an ongoing investigation,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “These results do not require us to change the timeline for testing from October 1, 2010, so we are hopeful that testing is nearing completion. We will continue to keep the public updated as new results and information are learned. We realize this situation is causing great concern to the public and we continue to work as quickly, but as carefully, as possible to conclude this investigation. ”

Hepatitis C is a viral infection transmitted by blood. It causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to chronic health issues. It is passed from person to person through contact with an infected person’s blood. Test results to date and any future results will be posted on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.

Any patient who was treated at the CCL or its recovery room between October 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012 should have received a letter from Exeter Hospital recommending testing for hepatitis C. Blood draws can be scheduled through Exeter Hospital’s Information and Referral Center at (603) 580-6124. If patients prefer, additional testing sites have been set up at Hampton, NH and Portsmouth, NH. For questions and information about hepatitis C, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis, the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov, or call the DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.

Read the full press release.

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