Nearly 300 patients in Edmonton, Canada have been put 'at risk of infection' of Hepatitis B and C as a result of the unsanitary practices of a single health clinic, according to an investigation by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. The heightened risk of infection comes as a result of the Northtown Medical Clinic, located at 94 Street and 137 Avenue, which was inadequately sterilizing medical devices.
Though the risk of infection is considered low, at-risk patients identified through the investigation process will be advised to seek simple blood testing for Hepatitis B and C," AHS said, according to the Edmonton Journal.
Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver and causes serious inflammation in the organ's tissue, often leading to jaundice, poor appetite, and fatigue. In some cases it can result in liver failure and even death. The two strains of the disease patients are at risk from here, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, can both be spread virally via infected needles. However, there are some important distinctions.
People can vaccinate themselves against Hepatitis B, which can also be spread through unprotected sex, while Hepatitis C has no vaccination. It is also much more common for Hepatitis C to progress to a chronic condition from an acute one, meaning that the infected patient could suffer from the disease long term — most who only suffer from acute Hepatitis recover with no long term liver damage. There is no medical treatment for Hepatitis, but patients should avoid alcohol, which can worsen their conditions, and get evaluated for liver disease regularly.
AHS says that the possibly infected patients have been sent notification letters warning them that they might be at risk. Patients identified in the investigation have been advised to receive blood testing for Hepatitis B and C.
This is a developing story.