Hospital officials say nearly 450 patients at a Massachusetts hospital may have contracted hepatitis or HIV over the past two years after improperly administering intravenous drugs.
The potential exposure at Salem Hospital affected patients seeking endoscopy, a type of procedure in which a doctor inserts a tube-like instrument into the body for examination, the hospital said in a statement Thursday. did. The hospital has not released further details about how the infection may have occurred.
Salem Hospital has notified all patients who may have been exposed and tested them for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, “standard testing for this type of potential exposure,” the hospital said. a spokesperson told CNN via email.
“At this time, there is no evidence of infection due to this incident,” the hospital said in a statement. “We have determined that the risk of infection to patients from this incident is extremely small. …We sincerely apologize to those affected.”
The hospital learned of the possible infection earlier this year and set up a hotline to offer free testing and answer questions staffed by clinicians.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement to CNN that it is aware of the potential exposure and has concluded that the risk of possible infection is very low.
The hospital worked with the state Department of Public Health “to manage the situation.”
“The ongoing investigation has so far identified no evidence of infection from these exposures,” the ministry said.
Hepatitis B and C are liver infections caused by viruses that can be spread by sharing needles, syringes, and other injection equipment and by sexual contact.
In 2018, more than 3,000 patients at the Saddle Brook, N.J., surgery center were at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. An investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health found that employees at Health Plus Surgery Center were not following sterilization procedures and medical equipment was not properly cleaned.
And in 2008, there was an acute hepatitis C outbreak associated with an endoscopy center in Las Vegas. According to the report From the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The investigation found that unsafe injection practices were putting patients at risk of exposure.
CNN’s Aya Elamursi contributed to this report.