2 former patients of infection-breached New Jersey clinic have hepatitis B, lawyers say

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

Lawyers for two former patients of Saddle Brook, N.J.-based HealthPlus Surgery Center, which the state temporarily shut down due to poor sterilization practices, said their clients tested positive for hepatitis B, the North Jersey Record reports.

The two patients who tested positive for hepatitis B underwent blood tests after the surgery center notified them in December that "lapses in infection control" between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7, 2018, may have exposed them to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. 

The New Jersey health department recommended 3,778 past patients of the surgery center get tested.

A third patient, who was treated for hepatitis A after a procedure at the center, is also seeking to join a class-action lawsuit against the facility as lawyers look to broaden the list of diseases and the time period for which the center might be liable. 

A HealthPlus spokesperson said none of its patients had shown evidence of contracting any of the three diseases from procedures at the center.  

"No positive test result to date is attributable to any prospective exposure at HealthPlus," the spokesperson told the Record.

The New Jersey Department of Health, which receives notification of all positive test results for HIV or hepatitis, said it would not release or confirm the results from testing of HealthPlus patients.  

"We cannot tell when we receive positive lab results whether they represent infection related to the procedures performed at HealthPlus or were acquired in some other manner," a department spokesperson said.

"When the outbreak investigation is complete," she said, the department may release a summary of the test results, identifying how many positive test results were "related to the infection control breach, unrelated to the infection control breaches or impossible to determine."

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