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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
SOUTH CAROLINA: More Patients Test Positive for Hepatitis in North Charleston Clinic Investigation

<p>Staff Writer</p>

June 20, 2013

Charleston Regional Business Journal (S.C.) (06.19.2013)

A dozen patients of North Charleston, S.C.’s Tri-County Spinal Care Center have tested positive for hepatitis B. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) could not verify the date when these persons became infected. On May 17, DHEC informed Tri-County that three patients had tested positive for hepatitis B after receiving injections at the clinic. DHEC ordered Tri-County to halt all invasive procedures and contacted the patients who received injections on specific days in 2013. Later in May, DHEC expanded the investigation to include all patients who received injections since 2011, and requested those patients be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

DHEC contacted more than 500 patients who had received a spinal or joint injection or other types of injection from Tri-County since September 2011. DHEC examined the clinic’s injection practices and infection control procedures and discovered the clinic’s practices had not changed since the clinic began providing injections.

After DHEC publicized their expanded investigation, Tri-County issued a news release emphasizing their continuing cooperation with investigators. In the news release, Cameron Wills, a chiropractic physician at the clinic, declared, “We have always used sterile, single-use supplies for injections. We do not reuse syringes or needles.” The release also stated that a biomedical equipment technician had inspected the clinic’s sterilization equipment, noting that the equipment had safety features that produced error codes in the event of an unsuccessful sterilization.