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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

NEW JERSEY: Hepatitis at Atlantic City Hospital Probed


Philadelphia Inquirer (04.25.09) - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Atlantic City hospital recently notified New Jersey health officials of five new hepatitis C virus infections among the hospital's dialysis patients. The cases were discovered in late March and early this month during federally required annual HCV testing of all dialysis patients, and administrators for AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center-City Campus then alerted the state. The patients were infected after they began dialysis treatment at the hospital, though it is unclear whether the cases are linked to the facility, said state Health Department officials.

"We told them we'd seen an increase and that we'd like them to help us see what it could be," said Jennifer Tornetta, a hospital spokesperson. AtlantiCare administrators did not "make any presumptions about why we had these five cases," said another spokesperson, Rene Bunting. "That's why we contacted the Department of Health." After AtlantiCare reported the test results, the state asked the hospital to review four years of its patient records, and 10 other HCV cases were found. The hospital said those 15 HCV cases were from a total of 245 dialysis patients.

AtlantiCare, state and city health officials are now performing an epidemiological study to determine the cause of HCV transmissions among the dialysis patients. Such investigations are complex, and finding the exact cause could prove difficult. During the investigation, the AtlantiCare dialysis clinic will continue to treat patients, Tornetta said, adding, "We are taking every precaution."


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Information in this article was accurate in April 29, 2009. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.