First 120 test negative for hepatitis C

Riverside hospital is still trying to reach some people who might have been infected by a former employee.

Test results are in for 120 Riverside patients screened for hepatitis C, and they all came back negative, a Riverside spokesman said.

Riverside Regional Medical Center started screening patients last week after officials discovered that a man who'd worked there last year was suspected of infecting up to 15 patients in Texas in 2004.

Nurse anesthetist Jon Dale Jones, 45, worked at Riverside from July 9 to Dec. 22 as an independent contractor.

Riverside officials said there's no reason to believe the 310 patients who may have come in contact with Jones contracted hepatitis C. They offered the screenings as a precaution.

In all, 219 patients have been screened or scheduled for screenings, said Peter Glagola, public relations director. Three have declined the screenings, he said.

Riverside's Ask-A-Nurse call center is still trying to reach some of the patients. The call center has taken 856 in-bound calls on hepatitis C and has placed more than 1,000 calls attempting to contact the 310 patients.

Riverside also sent out two letters to each of the 310 patients, and a third letter will be sent to patients whom hospital officials haven't been able to call, Glagola said.

Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. It spreads through contact with infected blood. The Virginia Department of Health reported nine new acute cases in 2006, 13 in 2005, and 15 each in 2004, 2003 and 2002, spokeswoman Michelle Peregoy said.

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Published: April 1, 2008



 

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