NH DHHS - Total Related Cases in Hepatitis C Outbreak Investigation Increases to 27

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. Six more cases of hepatitis C were recently

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

27. Of these 27 patients, one is also an Exeter Hospital employee.

DPHS continues to 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 27

cases related to the outbreak, 12 people have been identified with

hepatitis C that does not match the outbreak strain.

“This is still very much an ongoing investigation,” said Dr. José Montero,

Director of Public Health at DHHS. “These results do not require us to

change the timeline for testing from October 1, 2010, so we are hopeful

that testing is nearing completion. We will continue to keep the public

updated as new results and information are learned. We realize this

situation is causing great concern to the public and we continue to work as

quickly, but as carefully, as possible to conclude this investigation. ”

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.