Canada: 226 Told to Have HIV, Hepatitis C Tests
April 21, 2011
A former health care worker who was present in the operating room during 226 neurosurgeries has tested positive for HIV and hepatitis C, prompting Alberta Health Services (AHS) to screen possibly affected patients.
The staffer worked in Edmonton from July 2006 to March 2009, explained Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical health officer for AHS. "Subsequently leaving the province, this individual found out that they were infected with HIV and hepatitis C, and, as soon as that happened, did notify the appropriate licensing body and called us," as regulations require.
Due to privacy concerns, Predy declined to specify the worker's role in the operating room. The worker notified health authorities four months ago, prompting officials to launch an investigation to determine how many patients might be at risk, he said.
"The expert panel determined the risk here was very, very low, if not zero, because there were no breaches of infection-control practices identified with any of these particular patients," Predy said. "So, we, in the interest of being transparent, are notifying the roughly 200 patients that are involved and are advising that if they wish to be tested, we'll do that for them."
AHS began notifying patients last week. While most of those who have been contacted have elected to get tested, a few have declined. AHS will follow up with individual patients once the test results come back, likely in several weeks.
04.21.2011; Maiam Ibrahim
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