Thousands of Patients at New Jersey Surgery Center May Have Been Exposed to HIV, Hepatitis

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Image via Getty/Saul Loeb

 

 

The New Jersey Department of Health announced that over 3,000 patients at a surgery center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, alerted thousands of patients who had been treated between Jan. 1, 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018 that they may have been exposed to blood-borne pathogens due to unsanitary conditions. According to the National Library of Medicine, pathogens can be spread if blood or bodily fluids from an infected person come into contact with mucus membranes or the open wounds of another individual. They have asked that any individuals who might have been infected be tested for HIV.

Betty McCabe, an administrator at the surgery center, announced that no infections or illnesses have been reported thus far. In her statement she noted that the possible exposure stems from ‘‘deficiencies in infection control” related to the cleaning of medical instruments and injections of medications.

The state’s Department of Health conducted an investigation in which it found that there were “lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications.” A spokesperson from the Department said in a statement that, “Although the risk of infection is low, out of an abundance of caution, HealthPlus and the New Jersey Department of Health recommend patients get blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.”

The center was closed down in September after state officials became aware that sanitation and sterile standards were not being met. Additionally, the department has explained that the proper storing and dispersion of medication was not being adhered to by the center’s employees.

 

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