Kansas officials on Friday said two patients there have tested positive for a strain of hepatitis C virus “closely related” to a recent HCV outbreak in New Hampshire being blamed on a traveling medical technician.
Last month, Kansas officials notified more than 400 people they may have been exposed to HCV by the technician, David Kwiatkowski, who worked at Hays Medical Center’s cardiac catheterization lab from May 24 to Sept. 22, 2010. In New Hampshire, Kwiatkowski faces federal charges alleging he stole drugs at a hospital and contaminated syringes later used on patients.
In Kansas, only patients who had cardiac catheterization when Kwiatkowski worked at Hays are potentially at risk, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said. Of 334 patients tested as of Thursday, 311 were negative for HCV and other tests are pending, KDHE said. The agency plans to contact those it has not yet tested to see if they have been screened elsewhere.
KDHE said that despite the use of advanced technology, the “results might not always provide information to conclude if patients are linked to the cluster in New Hampshire, to each other, or to any specific person.”
“Our highest priority at this time is to identify patients who may be infected with hepatitis C so they can receive appropriate medical care,” said Robert Moser, Kansas’ health secretary.
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