Hepatitis C: Hospital patients are new group at risk
Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause liver damage and cancer, sometimes fatally. Body fluids and the sharing of contaminated needles can spread it, and so high-risk groups include homosexuals and drug addicts.
But there’s a new addition to that group – the hospital patient. Fourteen elderly patients at a nursing home in Maryland contracted hepatitis C after being infected by a contaminated vial. Of those, 11 developed jaundice and one died of liver failure.
Researchers discovered that the nursing home had poor hygiene standards. Syringes were being re-used and needles were left lying around.
They also discovered that the virus could survive outside of the human body for at least 21 hours.
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006; 296: 2005-11).E-news broadcast 9 November 2006 No.308