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Fourth probable Hepatitis C Case in Good Samaritan Hospital Outbreak

Viral Hepatitis Coordinator Kim Desmarais
by Kim Desmarais06/13/2018 3:45 p.m.
Updated: 01/04/2019

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has found another probable case of hepatitis C related to the MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup outbreak. As of June 13, the outbreak includes eight genetically linked confirmed cases and four probable cases.

Probable cases are positive for hepatitis C but, we have not confirmed a genetic link through CDC testing.

The current test results from the outbreak as of June 13:

 Testing Status
Number of Patients

Total Tested

1,713

Total Untested

Around 1,000

Negative Tests

(negative hepatitis C test)

1,648

Not Related

(hepatitis C positive, unrelated to investigation)

47

Under Investigation

(hepatitis C positive, source is not yet certain or cannot be determined)

6

Probable Cases

(hepatitis C positive, under investigation awaiting CDC lab testing)

4

Confirmed Cases

(hepatitis C positive, genetic link confirmed by CDC lab testing)

8


 

Of the eight confirmed cases, seven are new infections. All newly infected patients and the four probable patients visited the Good Samaritan Emergency Department in December 2018. 

About 100 people have gotten tested since last week’s announcement of more confirmed cases. About 1,000 people notified they were potentially exposed to the virus have not yet gotten tested. 

The hospital has notified everyone with a potential exposure risk. Testing is free. The hospital will also connect people who need it to treatment. 

Those with hepatitis C can feel well, even while the virus does damage to your liver and threatens your health. Testing for the virus is the only way to know if you have it. Protect your health and those around you. If your provider has notified you that you need to get tested, it is important that you do. 

The Health Department expects to find more confirmed cases as more people get tested. Not all of the cases that have been found, or will be found, are linked to this outbreak. Many people previously infected with hepatitis C have never been tested.

Analysis of the test results

The CDC test results confirm a genetic link for the hepatitis C in all eight cases:

  • Seven patients are new infections who got treatment in the hospital’s emergency department in December.
  • One patient has a known hepatitis C infection and got treatment in the emergency department in August and November.

None of these patients have any connection to one another, except for potential exposure to the virus when they received treatment at the Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department.

The patients all received an injection. The only common provider who treated them and administered intravenous injections to each one is the nurse who no longer works at the hospital. How the virus spread in this outbreak is unclear.

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus that attacks the liver and, if left untreated, can cause life-long complications like cirrhosis (scarring) or liver cancer. Most people with the virus don’t know they have it because so few people show symptoms.

In April, Good Samaritan Hospital announced the potential hepatitis C exposure. The hospital sent notifications to patients who received treatment in the emergency department between Aug. 4, 2017 and March 23. Learn more about the hospital notification, hepatitis C, and see previous test results at www.tpchd.org/hepc.

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  1. Updated: 01/04/2019
  2. Updated: 01/03/2019
  3. Updated: 06/14/2018
Viral Hepatitis Coordinator Kim Desmarais

by Kim Desmarais

Kim leads our efforts to identify and follow up on hepatitis activity in our communities.

 

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