January 19, 2019

More than 3,000 NJ patients may be exposed to HIV, hepatitis

28 December 2018, 05:29 | Silvia Roy

More than 3,000 patients in NJ possibly exposed to HIV, hepatitis

More than 3,000 patients at a surgical center in New Jersey may have been exposed to HIV hepatitis B and hepatitis C the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed earlier this week

Although the risk of infection is low, patients who had procedures at the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook in northern New Jersey between January 1 and September 7 may have been exposed to infections, the state Department of Health said in an email on Tuesday.

So far no illnesses have been reported, the health department told Reuters.

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After the investigation, the state closed the surgery center for three weeks before re-opening with a mission statement detailing "significant improvements" to their policies and procedures. Spokeswoman for New Jersey Dept. of Health Janelle Fleming stated that though infection risk is low both the clinic and DoH want to exercise utmost caution so has advised all patients to take tests for hepatitis B and C and even HIV to be on a safer side.

Thousands of patients, who had procedures at a surgery center in New Jersey, may have been exposed to HIV and other bloodborne pathogens, according to a recent health alert. "We are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist [patients] during this process".

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A directive issued by HealthPlus to its patients stated that it will pay all medical expenses for undergoing blood tests for infections that they could have contracted.

Before the center reopened on September 28, HealthPlus took steps to improve infection control procedures and hired new staff members to oversee infection prevention and control. The surgical procedure heart says it has improved its an infection management and drugs dishing out procedures, employed new workers and skilled them on sterile processing, and has cleaned and repaired all devices. HealthPlus is paying for affected patients to be tested, Thomas said.

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