Virginia Mason warns 600+ dialysis patients of possible hepatitis B exposure

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle has begun notifying almost 650 patients treated in the medical center's dialysis unit since February 2011 due to potential exposure to hepatitis B.

The patients being notified experienced potential virus exposure while receiving treatment in proximity to another dialysis patient who was infected with hepatitis B. The hospital is encouraging these individuals to contact their healthcare providers to determine their hepatitis B status — Virginia Mason will offer assistance to individuals who need it.

"The risk of exposure to hepatitis B was very low because of our other infection-control safeguards," said Cyrus Cryst, MD, a nephrology specialist with the hospital. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are informing patients of the situation, explaining there was a minimal risk of exposure for them and letting them know we are a ready resource for any questions they have. Patient safety is always our top priority."

More articles on infection control: 
Europe's CDC enacts guidelines to control the spread of antibiotic-resistance gene 
Researchers explore one-two punch method of knocking out HAI-causing E. coli 
Gloves transfer bacteria between hospital surfaces, study finds

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