NH DHHS - Four More Cases of Hepatitis C Linked to Outbreak Investigation

Increases Total to 31

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

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is today announcing

additional results related to the testing of patients who were treated at

Exeter Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab (CCL) and its recovery room

since October 1, 2010. Four more cases of hepatitis C were recently

identified as matching the strain of the outbreak, bringing the total to

31. Of these 31 patients, one is also an Exeter Hospital employee.

DPHS continues to conduct testing and send samples to the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing. Additional

results will be forthcoming from the CDC over the next several weeks. In

addition to the 31 cases related to the outbreak, 12 people have been

identified with hepatitis C that does not match the outbreak strain.

“These results do not require us to change the timeline for testing from

the October 1, 2010 date we have been using for several weeks,” said Dr.

José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “but the testing is

continuing and will until we feel sure that we have not missed any possible

exposures of patients related to this outbreak. We continue to gather

information and are trying to reach approximately 50 patients from the CCL

list who still need to have their blood drawn for testing.”

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

blood. Test results to date and any future results will be posted on the

DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov .

Any patient who was treated at the CCL or its recovery room between October

1, 2010 and May 25, 2012 should have received a letter from Exeter Hospital

recommending testing for hepatitis C. Blood draws can be scheduled through

Exeter Hospital’s Information and Referral Center at (603) 580-6124. If

patients prefer, additional testing sites have been set up at Hampton, NH

and Portsmouth, NH. For questions and information about hepatitis C, visit

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis , the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov , or call the

DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.