June 27, 2012
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 the testing of patients who were treated at Exeter Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab (CCL) and its recovery room since October 1, 2010. The NH Public Health Labs (PHL) have identified an additional patient who matches the strain of hepatitis C recently diagnosed in 20 people already associated with the CCL, bringing the total number of related cases to 21. Of these 21 patients, 1 is also an Exeter Hospital employee.
DPHS is sending samples from all of the patients who had positive testing results for hepatitis C to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing. The results of the first 6 samples of patients with active hepatitis C that were sent to CDC on June 5th are complete and confirm the NH Public Health Labs’ results.
“We are confident in our testing results,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “However, given the implications of these tests, we want the CDC to independently validate our results and hopefully shed more light on the outbreak itself. We have tested over 1,000 samples from patients identified as being treated in the CCL or its recovery room. The investigation is still ongoing, but we are working as quickly and as thoroughly as we can in close collaboration with Exeter Hospital to complete the necessary work.”
Test results to date, and any future results will be posted on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.
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 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.