July 12, 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. Four more cases of hepatitis C were recently identified as matching the strain of the outbreak, bringing the total to 31. Of these 31 patients, one is also an Exeter Hospital employee.
DPHS continues to conduct testing and 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 31 cases related to the outbreak, 12 people have been identified with hepatitis C that does not match the outbreak strain.
“These results do not require us to change the timeline for testing from the October 1, 2010 date we have been using for several weeks,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “but the testing is continuing and will until we feel sure that we have not missed any possible exposures of patients related to this outbreak. We continue to gather information and are trying to reach approximately 50 patients from the CCL list who still need to have their blood drawn for testing.”
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.