Michigan Hospitals Linked To Hepatitis-C Investigation

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Health officials say a traveling medical technician accused of causing a hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire worked in at least six Michigan facilities from 2003 to 2007.

David Kwiatkowski is being held on federal drug charges in New Hampshire, and authorities are trying to determine whether he spread the virus elsewhere.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Monday its “investigation has not uncovered evidence that the individual was infected with hepatitis C while employed at any Michigan facility,” and that a negative test result at one Michigan hospital allows them to exclude two hospitals from further examination.

State health officials say patients who, between 2005 and 2007, who underwent procedures at the four remaiing hospitals: Harper, Sinai Grace, University of Michigan Hospital or Oakwood Annapolis, should probably be tested for possible exposure. (More details below).

“Hepatitis C is a chronic condition that can damage the liver for many years without noticeable symptoms,” said Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive of the MDCH, in a statement.  “Our goal of recommending testing is to ensure the appropriate use of the modern medicine now available to prevent deaths from hepatitis. In order to help potentially affected individuals, we are asking patients to get tested to protect their health.”

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne viral infection, estimated to infect 1.6 percent of the U.S. population.  It can cause inflammation of the liver that may lead to chronic health issues.

Those who were patients at one or more of these facilities during the identified time periods (listed below) and who received an injectable narcotic, are urged to contact the hospital or their doctor about hepatitis C testing.

Identified Michigan hospitals, dates, and contact information (Provided by the MDCH):

Sinai Grace Hospital* – June-October 2005 (contact: 1-888-300-3627 or www.dmc.org/mdch)
Harper Hospital** – October 2005-September 2006 (contact: 1-888-300-3627 or www.dmc.org/mdch)
University of Michigan Hospital (Main Campus) – September 11-December 8, 2006 (contact: 1-877-233-4040)
Oakwood Annapolis Hospital – January 15-September 15, 2007 (contact: 1-734-467-4111)

*Patients who underwent procedures in interventional radiology that required intravenous narcotics
**Patients who underwent procedures in the cardiac catheterization laboratory

For more information about hepatitis C, visit the MDCH website at www.michigan.gov/hivstd or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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