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4 additional cases linked to Exeter hepatitis outbreak

JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

July 12. 2012 11:45AM



EXETER - The state announced four additional cases of hepatitis C linked to an outbreak at Exeter Hospital, bringing the total number infected to 31, public health officials said Thursday.

The latest cases were discovered during additional testing as the state and other agencies investigate an outbreak of an identical strain of the virus that began in May.

Of the 31 infected, one is a hospital worker.

The infections are believed to have occurred in the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab and its recovery room and caused by a hospital employee who abused drugs meant for patients.

According to state officials, the testing has turned up 12 others who have been identified with a strain of hepatitis C that does not match those infected in the outbreak.

The state is testing patients who were treated at the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab between Oct. 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012. Officials are also trying to find approximately 50 patients from the cardiac catheterization list who still need to have their blood drawn for testing.

'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, 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,' Dr. Jos Montero, director of public health, said in a statement.

The state continues to send its positive test results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing. Additional results are expected from the CDC over the next several weeks.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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