NH DHHS - Exeter Hospital Hep C Investigation

Exeter Hospital and the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services Form aJoint Investigation Related to Four Individuals Recently Diagnosed with hepatitis C

EXETER, NH (May 31, 2012) – Exeter Hospital has identified four individuals who were recently diagnosed with hepatitis C. Due to common elements in their clinical history, Exeter Hospital reported the cases to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services to seek their assistance.

Testing by the Division of Public Health Services has confirmed that all four cases share an identical strain, which means they were infected by the same source. We are currently working with the experts at Public Health to investigate and determine the source of the infection. The common place of connection for the infected individuals at Exeter Hospital appears to involve the Cardiac Cath Lab. Exeter Hospital voluntarily suspended operations in the Cardiac Cath Lab on Friday May 25th pending the completion of appropriate testing. We anticipate that it will be cleared to resume operations shortly.

As part of the investigation, together with the Division of Public Health Services, we are in the process of proactively reaching out via phone and letters to all patients who received care in the Cardiac Cath Lab since August 1, 2011 to recommend they return for hepatitis C testing.

Exeter Hospital is providing this confidential testing at no charge for these patients and to make the screening as convenient as possible, we have arranged for multiple dates and times. Test results will take 7-10 days and results will be sent directly to the patient’s primary care physician.

Together with Public Health, we are doing our very best to make this process as accommodating and supportive as possible for patients. We have established a dedicated phone line through Exeter Hospital’s Information and Referral Center to assist patients and schedule tests. The Referral Center has also extended its hours to 7:00am through 7:00pm Monday through Friday.

We will continue to work closely with the New Hampshire Division of Public Health and if there are any questions, individuals are encouraged to call them at (603) 271-4496. Further information and updates will be released as they become available.

About Exeter Hospital:

Exeter Hospital is a community-based hospital that serves residents from 38 towns in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region. The hospital’s mission is to improve the health of the communities