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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CANADA: Brantford General Hospital Says Human Error May Have Led to Hep C Contamination
By Michelle Ruby
January 22, 2014
Sun News (Canada) (01.21.2014)

Sun News reported that Brantford General Hospital spokesperson and infection control specialist Dr. Tom Szakacs stated the hospital was investigating whether two patients acquired hepatitis C as a result of cross-contamination of medication supplies. In both instances, hospital workers used a needle to inject medications on a hepatitis C-infected patient, and then used the same needle on the next patient, transmitting the virus. All four patients were at Brantford General Hospital for endoscopies. One incident occurred on May 29, 2013, and the next on November 8, 2013. Szakacs noted that the investigation began as soon as the hospital became aware of a potential transmission case. Confirmatory testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg could require up to six months. A Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) news release reported that the investigation had ruled out other contamination sources, such as scopes or medications, and had focused on staff failure to follow sterile technique. The hospital tested all other May 29 and November 8 endoscopy patients and stated they did not have hepatitis C or other bloodborne viruses. The hospital announced it would resume elective endoscopies on January 22, 2014. BCHS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Hornell promised that if the national laboratory confirmed the hepatitis C transmission, the hospital would expand hepatitis C testing to other potentially at-risk endoscopy patients.