On Wednesday January 6th, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that there are indeed multiple cases of hepatitis C that happened as a result of an outbreak at McKay-Dee Hospital and Davis Medical Center & Hospital in Utah.
The CDC believes that as many as 7200 people may have been exposed to the hepatitis C. It has been confirmed that a healthcare professional, Elet Neilson, is responsible after she stole medication and replaced syringes contaminated with her infected blood.
A spokesperson for the CDC says there are two related cases and that “…one of the cases is a healthcare provider that was working in the emergency department and fired for using medications illegally.” The spokesperson says that a similar outbreak occurred a few years ago in Denver in 2009 where a nurse was taking drugs and replacing the syringes filled with saline. This is similar to what “serial infector” David Kwiatkowski did all over the United States before finally being sentenced to prison last year.
In the Utah case, the CDC says that a random blood donor ended up being the “missing link” and connected the Ms. Neilson to the outbreak when his or her blood results showed up at a blood screening at a nearby blood bank. The blood donor, being referred to as the “index patient,” had no risk factors, according to the CDC. When the CDC looked into the index patient’s medical history, it found that he visited McKay-Dee and was treated by Ms. Neilson. After a thorough investigation, Ms. Neilson was arrested and currently awaits trial.
As you may know, hepatitis C affects the liver and is deadly if it doesn’t go untreated. Unfortunately, however, most people don’t realize they have the disease until after they are tested. And because symptoms in some cases wait to manifest themselves until as long as twenty-five years after contraction, many people don’t find out they have hepatitis C until it’s too late. If it is found in a timely manner, several new types of treatments boast a 95% success rate in the majority of patients.
The 7200 patients in question were sent letter by the CDC to let them know that they may have been exposed to the disease. The hospitals are giving free hep C tests to anyone who received one of these letters until 31 January. The CDC says that patients who were at Davis Medical Center & Hospital from June 2011 to April 2014 may have been exposed. Those who were patients at McKay-Dee Hospital from June 2014 to November 2014 may have been exposed.
To date, approximately 65% of people have not responded to the letters. It is extremely important to these people and their families they get tested as soon as possible to find out if they have been infected. If you have received a letter or suspect that you may have been exposed, please call our experienced hepatitis C lawyers today to protect your rights. We have helped victims of other serial infectors. Call us today at 866-586-1910 or email us now for a free, no obligation case evaluation.