Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is today announcing additional results related to testing of patients who had been treated at Exeter Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab (CCL) beginning April 1, 2011. The NH Public Health Labs (PHL) have identified an additional 4 patients who match the strain of hepatitis C recently diagnosed in 10 people already associated with the CCL, bringing the total number of related cases to 14. Of these 14 patients, 1 is also an Exeter Hospital employee. All 14 individuals have been notified.
“As expected the investigation is revealing more cases related to this outbreak,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “We realize this may be very concerning to people, but we are working as quickly and as thoroughly as we can in close collaboration with Exeter Hospital to determine how these individuals were infected. At this time we do not need to expand the testing, but as we have said since the beginning, if we need to we will let people know as soon as possible.”
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.
Any patients who fit the above criteria can contact Exeter Hospital’s Information and Referral Center to make an appointment for testing at (603) 580-6124. 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.