Boston Globe (04.01.13)
Health officials are investigating how five patients may have been exposed recently to hepatitis B virus (HBV) at Boston Medical Center. Nick Martin, director of communications for the Boston Public Health Commission, stated that the medical center informed the health commission on March 29 about the potential exposure. He said that the health commission will work with hospital officials to ensure that all affected individuals receive appropriate follow-up care.
Although the hospital did not reveal publicly how the patients came into contact with the virus due to patient privacy and confidentiality rights, one patient said that she had been notified by BMC that she may have been exposed to HBV during dialysis. The patient explained that, during the call, BMC said that one of the dialysis machines had not been cleaned properly after being used for a patient with hepatitis B, and that she and other patients had been exposed. She also said that the hospital sent someone to her home to administer a gamma globulin injection, which has antibodies that fight the virus and block potential infection. The patient reported that she has since spoken to doctors and feels confident that if she has been infected, it will be caught early. She also had a blood test and will receive the results in approximately one week.