6,000 More Hospital Patients Must Be Tested for Hepatitis C
Thirty patients have been infected so far in a criminal outbreak as Canton man faces charges.
New Hampshire health officials today announced they are expanding the number of patients they want to test in a hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.
David Kwiatkowski of Canton, a traveling medical technician, was arrested last week on charges of knowingly spreading his hepatitis C to patients by stealing their drugs to get high.
Anyone who was treated as an inpatient in the main operating room or was treated in the intensive care unit from April 1, 2011 to May 25, 2012 should get tested for the disease, said Dr. Jose Montero, the state's Public Health director, at a news conference today.
The new testing pool includes about 6,000 patients. Originally, 1,200 had been identified for testing.
Clinics will be held over the next few days for patients to get tested, Montero said.
"We understand this creates some anxiety," Montero said.
He emphasized that the chances are low any of the 6,000 patients contracted the disease.
Prosecutors say the outbreak was started by Kwiatkowski, a Canton native who has worked in seven states, including Michigan. State health officials have not yet identified where Kwiatkowski worked locally.
The 1,200 patients originally identified for testing were treated in the New Hampshire hospital's cardiac catheterization lab where Kwiatkowski worked. Montero said he had access to other areas of the hospital, which prompted the expanded testing.
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