NH Health Department Holds Public Meeting on Hepatitis C Outbreak

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is holding a meeting for

members of the public to answer questions about the hepatitis C outbreak at

Exeter Hospital. The meeting will be held tomorrow night, Friday, June 15

at 6:00 pm in the Exeter High School auditorium at 1 Blue Hawk Drive,

Exeter (GPS address 315 Epping Road).

The purpose of the meeting is to explain the process of the investigation

by DPHS and answer questions about it for anyone interested. Speakers will

include Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jodie

Dionne-Odom, Deputy State Epidemiologist, and Dr. José Montero, Director of

Public Health at DHHS.

“We realize there is a great deal of anxiety and that many people have

questions,” said Dr. Montero, “and as we have done for other outbreaks we

want people to be able to hear firsthand how the investigation has evolved

and where we are in the process.”

So far 20 patients have been identified as being infected with the same

strain of hepatitis C. The common link among all the patients is the

Cardiac Catheterization Lab and its recovery room at Exeter Hospital. DHHS

yesterday expanded the recommendation on patients of these units who should

be tested for the virus back to October 1, 2010 through May 25, 2012. This

is a change from testing recommendations set last week at April 1, 2011.

Exeter Hospital is in the process of contacting these newly identified


Hepatitis C is a viral infection transmitted by blood. It causes

inflammation of the liver that can lead to chronic health issues. It is

passed from person to person through contact with an infected person’s


Any patients who fit the above criteria can contact Exeter Hospital’s

Information and Referral Center to make an appointment for testing at (603)

580-6124. For questions and information about hepatitis C visit

www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/hepatitisc/index.htm  or

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm  or call the DPHS Bureau of Infectious

Disease Control at 603-271-4496.