Eighty-One People Treated at Nebraska Cancer Clinic Test Positive for Hepatitis C
November 20, 2002
Eighty-one people treated at a Nebraska cancer clinic have tested positive for hepatitis C, health officials said Tuesday. Letters were sent in October to 612 patients of the clinic run by Dr. Tahir Javed, advising them to seek voluntary testing. The patients, suffering from cancer or blood disorders, were treated at the clinic between March 1, 2000 and Dec. 31, 2001.
One of the patients had hepatitis C before going to the clinic and is suspected of being the one who introduced the disease there, said Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist. State health officials had not yet determined how the disease spread among the patients, although there were anecdotal reports of a contaminated vial being used for several patients, Safranek said. "There's absolutely no indication of intentionality here," he said.
Javed left the United States in July to attend to his ailing mother in Pakistan, but has been in contact with his attorney, Safranek said. Some patients of the clinic have contacted an attorney and are considering legal action. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Raymond said he could not comment on any disciplinary investigation into Javed or any of his employees.
Safranek said he was alerted to the problem in September by an Omaha doctor who had two patients with hepatitis C who also were patients at Javed's clinic in Fremont, Neb.
The positive results were among 485 people tested. Of the 127 others, some chose not to be tested, others may have been tested by their private physician and others died, Raymond said. The clinic closed in October.
11.19.02; Scott Bauer
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.