CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateIRELAND: HSE Doctor Diagnosed with Hepatitis C Virus, Patients Are Advised to Undergo Exams
November 27, 2012
StudentNews.ie (Ireland) (11.21.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
A female doctor employed with Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, which is an infectious and deadly virus. Hundreds of the doctor’s female patients may have contracted the virus as well. HSE has refused to reveal the names of the 10 hospitals where the doctor worked; however, health officials have notified these hospitals and advised them to trace every patient with whom the HSE doctor had contact. HSE wants any patients who did contract hepatitis C to be re-examined for health security purposes.
The doctor has been a registered obstetrician in the Republic of Ireland since October 2008. HSE hired her as a substitute and discovered only recently that the doctor was carrying the virus. The agency will examine staff at hospitals where the doctor worked, as well as examine its own staff, especially those who have had direct contact with her.
Hepatitis C is difficult to determine as it provides no clear symptoms until it has already caused major damage to organs inside the human body. Although the chance of a health worker acquiring HCV is minimal, HSE has warned hospitals to review patients’ files and provide women free hepatitis C tests, particularly the women on whom the doctor performed surgery or saw as patients. HSE will notify them of their test results as quickly as possible. Dr. Kevin Kelleher, HSE Assistant National Director of Health Protection, also warned all hospitals to ban the doctor from being employed, as patients risk being infected.