|In late February, 40,000 people were notified they were put at risk of contracting Hepatitis C and HIV after visiting the Endoscopy Center in Southern Nevada. The clinic was found to be reusing syringes and vials of medicine, an unsafe practice that endangered thousands of Nevadans. Since then, it has been discovered that some other clinics in Nevada engaged in similar unsafe practices.
Upon learning of the incident, I held a conference call with Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Larry Sands and Brian Labus of the Southern Nevada Health District. During that call, we discussed what went wrong, ways to help those put at risk, and possible action to prevent similar situations in the future.
I appreciate the CDC’s swift response to this crisis. The CDC has sent a team of CDC personnel to provide direct support to the onsite visits of all 50 ambulatory surgery centers in the state and for arranging for the CDC-INFO call-in line to serve as a back up to Nevada’s state hotline for public inquiries.
The Southern Nevada Health District should be commended for making the correlation between six reported cases of Hepatitis C and the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. It was like finding a needle in a haystack, and the Health District did an excellent job making this realization before more people were put at risk of infection.
Every effort is being made to contact those who received medical services at these clinics. If you feel you may have been put at risk in Nevada or elsewhere, please consult a physician about being tested.
By working through this problem, we have the opportunity to stop practices like this from happening again in Nevada and around the country. I will continue to work to improve health care in Nevada so that everyone in our state can receive the care they need in a safe and secure manner.
Contact Harry Reid at http://reid.senate.gov/