NH DHHS Announces Declaration of Public Health Incident in Advance of Hepatitis C Clinics

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

(DHHS) Emergency Services Unit (ESU) today announces the declaration of a

public health incident for the State of New Hampshire in response to the

hepatitis C outbreak. This declaration is simply a proactive way to

facilitate the pulic health clinics for hepatitis C testing that are taking

place starting tomorrow. Specifically it will allow DHHS to seek outside

assistance with the clinic operations.

“While such a declaration is an unusual event,” said DHHS Commissioner

Nicholas Toumpas, “we’ve taken this step to ensure the safety of everyone

who is assisting us in this extensive undertaking. While these clinics are

the most efficient and effective way to test this many patients in a short

amount of time, planning and carrying out these clinics involves many

people working behind the scenes. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to

host the clinics. I would like to thank all our regional partners and

volunteers for their willingness to help the citizens of the State during

this stressful time.”

Call center staff have been working to schedule appointments for the

approximately 3,300 patients who were recently recommended for testing for

possible exposure to hepatitis C following the outbreak at Exeter Hospital.

To date, 32 people are confirmed infected as part of this outbreak,

including the former healthcare worker. The newly identified group of

patients being tested includes anyone treated in the Hospital’s Main

Operating Rooms (excluding the outpatient surgery center) or the Intensive

Care Unit between April 1, 2011 and May 25, 2012.

“We have made great effort to reach out to each identified patient,

including calling them and mailing each of them a letter, to make sure they

know what their choices are for testing,” said ESU Director Rick Cricenti,

“and to try to make the process as quick and simple for them as possible.

In fact, our clinic for tomorrow in Stratham is booked solid, but there are

still openings at some of the other clincis. Because we want to be able

to provide patients with a smooth process, it’s important that people not

show up without a previously scheduled appointment. So far we’ve scheduled

1,043 patients at one of the upcoming clinics.”

Patients can be tested at the following locations:

· Cooperative Middle School, 100 Academic Way, Stratham on August 10 &


· Timberlane Regional High School, 36 Greenough Rd., Plaistow on August

14 & 15

· Manchester Health Department, 1528 Elm Street, Manchester, on August

16, 17, & 18

· Rochester Middle School, 47 Brock Street, Rochester, on August 16

Patients may also call (603) 271-6617 to schedule their appointment.

Other testing options include:

· Exeter Hospital, August 13-15, 7 AM-6 PM

You must schedule an appointment directly with Exeter Hospital by calling

(603) 580-6124 between 8:30 AM – 5 PM.

· Portsmouth Regional Hospital – Hampton, Monday-Thursdays, 8 AM-4 PM

· Portsmouth Regional Hospital – Pease Trade Port, Monday-Thursdays, 8


For the Hampton and Pease sites, no appointment is necessary, but you will

be asked to provide this letter and proper identification.

As always, patients have the option of going to their own healthcare

provider to have their blood drawn. The healthcare provider then needs to

coordinate with the Public Health Lab for the testing by calling (603)


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

www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm  for questions and information about this

investigation and hepatitis C. Or call DPHS’ Bureau of Infectious Disease

Control at (603) 271-4496.