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New York: Patients Treated at Rockland Psychiatric Center Warned of Hepatitis Risk

February 17, 2011

The State Department of Health is advising that some patients of Rockland Psychiatric Center be tested for blood-borne infections like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Last summer a patient at the center contracted hepatitis B, and DOH launched an investigation in cooperation with the state Office of Mental Health, which operates RPC.


During a site visit to observe infection-control precautions at RPC, state investigators found that a finger-stick pen for testing blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes was being used on more than one patient. Another patient with chronic hepatitis B had been treated at RPC at the same time the newly infected patient was at the facility. CDC analysis found the patients' viruses were identical, suggesting patient-to-patient transmission, possibly through reuse of the lancet device.

Investigators said the nurses did replace the disposable lancets used to prick the finger. However, they did not replace the barrel that holds the lancets in place. A test on the barrel found traces of blood, said Claudia Hutton, a DOH spokesperson.

"There is a risk of spreading infections when any part of the [lancet] pen is used for more than one patient," DOH noted in its advisory.

RPC, and all other state-run psychiatric hospitals, switched to a new method of drawing blood, said Jill Daniels, a spokesperson for the state mental health office. The 229 affected patients have been identified and contacted, said Daniels.

RPC patients with questions can telephone 888-240-5805.

Back to other news for February 2011

Adapted from:
Journal News (White Plains)
02.16.2011; Jane Lerner

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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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