Investigations Highlight Probable Role of Contaminated Equipment in HCV Transmission

March 4, 2015 | Strategic Insights for Health System


To highlight the potential for hepatitis C virus (HCV) contamination of medications or equipment, which can result in transmissions that are difficult to recognize, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) February 27, 2015, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report presents two investigations of healthcare-associated HCV transmission among patients who had surgical procedures. In the first, a female healthcare worker tested positive for HCV infection after undergoing a procedure in the facility where she worked. After ruling out occupational exposure prior to the procedure and other possibilities, an analysis matched her HCV strain to that of another patient at the facility. Further investigation revealed that the second patient underwent a procedure just prior to hers that involved the same anesthesiologist. Although the anesthesiologist said there was no reuse of needles and syringes or reuse of single-dose vials, following standard operating procedures at the facility, the anesthesiologist had moved his cart and medications from patient to patient throughout the day.

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