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U.S. News

Official: 114 Hepatitis Cases May Trace to Clinics

October 24, 2008

State health investigators said Thursday that 114 Las Vegas patients may have contracted hepatitis C virus from unsterile medical injection practices first detected Jan. 2. Earlier this year, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) began contacting the outpatients of two endoscopy centers in Las Vegas where investigators said staff reused syringes and medicine vials.

"In putting everything together, we've identified 114 cases in total linked to the two clinics," said Brian Labus, senior SNHD epidemiologist. "We still have some analysis to do, but we don't expect the numbers to change much."

SNHD notified about 50,000 former patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada (ECSN) to get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C. Warnings were also sent to 13,000 former patients of the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center. Both sites were affiliated with Dr. Dipak Desai, who headed several Las Vegas clinics. Both clinics are now closed, and Desai has surrendered his medical license while police and health investigations continue.

To date, 7,331 people have submitted medical data to help SNHD with its investigation, Labus said. DNA tests identified hepatitis infections that occurred at ECSN on July 25, 2007, and Sept. 21, 2007, officials said. The district said nine cases were directly tied to unsafe injection practices, and 105 former patients were later diagnosed with hepatitis, though these patients had additional infection risk factors. Of the 105 cases, 101 were associated with ECSN and four with Desert Shadow.

Labus said he hopes to finalize his report to district administrators by the anniversary of the date the outbreak was detected.

Back to other news for October 2008

Adapted from:
Associated Press
10.23.2008; Ken Ritter

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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