EL PASO, Tx - A Beaumont Army Hospital
staff member contracts Hepatitis "c" and now several patients are
also infected. Up to 5% of all the patients tested so far
have tested positive for Hepatitis "c", it's a disease that can
destroy the liver.
Just after 3 o'clock today the public received confirmation that
a staff member at William Beaumont Army Medical Center had tested
positive for Hepatitis "c". A hospital spokesperson said this person
will no longer have contact with patients.
The hospital identified two cases of exposure to Hepatitis "c"
two months ago, which prompted an extensive review of health records
between July and October of this year. The investigation led to the
testing of 155 surgical patients, 8 of which were found to be
There are several ways to transmit Hepatitis "c": by sharing
needles or other drug injection equipment, through unsterile
tattooing or body piercing equipment, any blood-to-blood contact
through a tooth brush, razor blade, or other hygenic tools
The disease is rarely transmitted through sexual contact, but is
possible when infected blood is present. Hepatitis "c "can also be
passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
However, there are some misconceptions about the disease. It can
not be transmitted by kissing, coughing, sneezing, or other social
contact. The only way to check for Hepatitis "c" is with a blood
If you were a patient at William Beaumont anytime this year, from
July to October and think you may have been infected call, officials
as that you call 915-569-4444.
Hospital Seeks Patients Exposed to
(12/11/04 - EL PASO,
TX) -- With eight cases of
C confirmed, officials at Beaumont
Army Medical Center are looking for 60 others who had surgery there
earlier this year and might have contracted the disease.
Since identifying two cases in early October, the
hospital staff and about 150
people who had surgery there from July through October have been
"The records review and subsequent testing of individuals ... was
conducted to ensure the best possible care for those
exposed and to assure patient and
worker safety," Col. James Leech, Beaumont's commander, told the
Times for its Saturday editions.
Beaumont officials are not sure how two
patients originally diagnosed with
hepatitis C became
infected. How others contracted the virus is being investigated.
C is a liver disease caused by a
virus. It can be transmitted when blood or body fluids from an
infected person enter the body of a person who is not infected. It
causes between 8,000 deaths and 10,000 deaths in the United States
each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
If left untreated, hepatitis
C can result in liver damage,
which can lead to serious conditions such as liver cancer or
Leech said that Beaumont officials immediately alerted the
City-County Health and Environment District and that the CDC also
sent personnel to study the situation.
Dr. William Bower of the CDC said Beaumont took the appropriate
steps when it identified the virus in its
"The work they did has placed the risk factor here at zero at this
point," Bower said.
Bower and other U.S. Army medical officials are at Beaumont
investigating the origin of the virus.
Leech said the eight people -- including one staff member who no
longer has contact with patients
-- are being treated.