For the past four years, thousands of patients in Southern Nevada have been exposed to a major health risk and never knew it. Forty thousand people who visited the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas are now advised to be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV in a scare that dates back to February of 2007.
Brian Labus, Senior Epidemiologist says, "We identified the re-use of syringes on a patient as well as the re-use of vials labeled for single patient use for multiple patients. The combination of these two practices could have exposed patients to the blood of other patients." And Dr. Lawrence Sands, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District adds, "We are recommending testing for Hepatitis B and HIV as well."
The Southern Nevada Health District is notifying approximately 40,000 patients who had procedures requiring injected anesthesia and telling them they should be tested for Hepatitis C.
The investigation began in early January when three patients from the center tested positive for Acute Hepatitis C and then three more were found. The Health District says that, on average, only about two cases of Acute Hepatitis C are reported each year in Clark County. The Health District also says at that time they found a serious problem with the centers injection practices.