NH DHHS Provides Update on Hepatitis C Testing at Public Clinics

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

(DHHS) Emergency Services Unit (ESU) today released the number of patients

tested at the public health clinics that were held in various communities

around the State. In all 1,252 patients were tested for possible exposure

to hepatitis C at the four different public health clinic sites. The

clinics were held in response to the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter

Hospital. The Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) had recommended

testing this second group of about 3,300 patients who received treatment 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.

This is in addition to patients treated in the Hospital’s Cardiac

Catheritization Lab (CCL) between October 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012 who have

already been tested.

“This was a tremendous effort to coordinate multi-day clinics in four

different communities,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “We could

not have accomplished the testing of this many patients in this short of a

time frame at these sites without the help of our regional and local public

health partners.”

Call center staff reached out to patients to schedule appointments for the

clinics. Clinics were held in Stratham, Plaistow, Rochester and

Manchester. DPHS offered the rapid test to patients at the clinics, so

patients who chose to stay, received an initial result that day. All

samples collected at the clinics are currently undergoing confirmation

testing at the NH Public Health Labs.

“We sent letters and called everyone that was recommended for testing, to

make sure they were aware of public health's testing recommendations and of

the different options for testing,” said ESU Director Rick Cricenti.

“While we were able to test a significant number of patients, there were

some who chose not to be tested at this time. We are still encouraging

testing for those who have not yet done so.”

In addition to the patients tested at the public clinics, there were

another 1,174 patients tested through Exeter Hospital’s clinics, the

drawing sites in Portsmouth and Hampton, and through samples submitted

directly from providers. This brings the total number of patients tested

so far as part of the second phase of testing to 2,426.

If patients are still interested in being tested they can do so at the

following locations:

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

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


No appointment is necessary at these sites, but patients will be asked to

provide the letter they received from DPHS 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.