Post and Courier (Charleston) (07.09.2013)
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has confirmed that an additional individual has tested positive for hepatitis B since the department began investigating Tri-County Spinal Care Center in May of this year. A total of 19 clinic patients have tested positive for the virus. SCDHEC began the investigation this spring when doctors diagnosed hepatitis B in three patients who received similar injections at the clinic on the same days in February. So far, SCDHEC has contacted approximately 600 current and former clinic patients so that they could be screened for the infectious disease. According to SCDHEC Spokesperson Jim Beasley, the department identified breaches in the clinic’s infection control practices that could have resulted in the contamination of medication that the clinic administered to patients. Beasley indicated that this could be the source of infection, but it was impossible to confirm if the clinic was the source of the 19 infections. More than half of the 19 hepatitis B cases have cleared, with only one patient developing chronic hepatitis B.