Calif. medical office closes after possible hep C exposure

A medical practice in Santa Barbara, Calif., is closed and national, state and local agencies are investigating it after patients were potentially exposed to hepatitis C and other bloodborne illnesses.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health to investigate an unnamed medical clinic after unsafe injection practices were observed there.

Patients could have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or even HIV. The possible exposure was uncovered as the county health department was investigating a case of hepatitis C that could have been acquired at the clinic. During that investigation, the department discovered the medical clinic staff were "not following standard/universal precautions to protect themselves and their patients," according to the news release.

Patients who were possibly exposed at the medical clinic are being contacted and can receive lab testing.

The healthcare professional from the clinic is cooperating with the investigation, providing medical records and other information.

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