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North Carolina: State Cites Assisted Living Center for Lack of Infection Controls

November 17, 2010

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR) detailed violations found during an investigation into a hepatitis B virus outbreak at an assisted living center. Five GlenCare of Mount Olive residents ages 63-83 who died since August had HBV; three more were infected.

Blood glucose monitors at GlenCare were sometimes stored together, were not labeled with residents' names, and were not disinfected after each use, state Division of Public Health (DPH) investigators reported last week.

DHSR reported that GlenCare staff complained that until mid-October, the facility's one or two lancing devices for blood glucose testing were shared by all patients. According to regulators, GlenCare staff reported they were unsure whether the devices were cleaned before and after each use. Labeling of lancing devices with patient names began about the same time state and local health authorities began investigating the HBV outbreak, GlenCare staffers reportedly told regulators.

At least three medication technicians had not received training on how to care for diabetic residents, including checking blood glucose, DHSR reported. In-service training materials initially presented to state regulators did not include information on universal precautions to prevent infections, DHSR said.

Medical technicians deny they told state investigators of any sharing of devices in their monitoring of residents' blood glucose. GlenCare officials deny any responsibility for the outbreak, suggesting it was caused by people coming in from outside, the sharing of drinks, or sex. According to CDC, HBV is spread by percutaneous (skin puncture) or mucosal contact with infected blood or bodily fluids; it is not spread through food, water or shared eating utensils.

Under DHSR's corrective plan, GlenCare must appoint a staff member to coordinate infection control, provide training on proper precautions, and have a registered nurse or pharmacist observe glucose monitoring at least once a week. Fines for the five violations reported Tuesday have not yet been levied.

GlenCare has been allowed to continue operating because it is taking action to correct violations, said Jeff Horton, director of DHSR.

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from: (Raleigh)
11.16.2010; Cullen Browder

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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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