NH Public Health Officials Expand the Testing of Patients Related to the Exeter Hospital Hepatitis C Investigation

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is expanding testing

recommendations related to the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.

DPHS is now asking that anyone who was a patient in the Hospital’s

Operating Rooms (excluding outpatient surgery center) and the Intensive

Care Unit between April 1, 2011 and May 25, 2012 be tested for possible

exposure to hepatitis C. A former Exeter Hospital employee has been

arrested and charged in connection with the outbreak.

“As part of our investigation we have uncovered additional information that

has indicated the suspect, while working in the Hospital’s Cardiac

Catheritization Lab, may also have accessed these other areas of the

hospital,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “As we have said

this investigation is ongoing and additional testing may be necessary to

help all patients who may have been infected. While the risk of exposure

to this newly identified group of patients is very low, we want to be take

every measure to protect the public and so we are recommending that they

come in to be tested.”

This recommendation represents approximately 6,000 people who should be

tested. In order to ensure efficiency, DPHS will be coordinating clinics

for testing with regional partners. The clinic will be located at Exeter

High School and will be open this weekend between 10 AM and 8 PM on both

Saturday and Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday between Noon and 8 PM.

DPHS will offer a test that can be done at the clinic site, and patients

will receive results before leaving the clinic. Understanding patient

concerns, we are offering this test to shorten the time that patients will

have to wait for results. Alternatively, patients can choose to have their

blood drawn by their healthcare provider.

DPHS will be hosting a public meeting at 6 pm in the town of Exeter on

Thursday night at Exeter High School. The purpose of the meeting is to be

available for community members, to discuss the latest developments and to

answer questions the public may have. Details of the clinics are being

finalized, and all information will be available by Thursday night’s


“We realize this is a very busy time of year,” said Montero, “so we wanted

to give people as much advance notice as possible. We felt it was

important to reach out to patients with this announcement even before all

the details have been worked out.”

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 DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease

Control at 603-271-4496. Any inquiries about the criminal investigation

should be addressed to the NH Attorney General’s Office at 271-3658.