CDC: Resuse Of Syringes Likely Caused Hepatitis C Outbreak In Vegas

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A new federal report out today says the staff
at a Las Vegas clinic at the center of a hepatitis C outbreak likely caused the transmission of the bloodborne pathogen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nurses at the now-closed Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada routinely mishandle injection equipment and single-use medication vials.

CDC investigators say they observed the practice of reusing syringes during a visit to the clinic January and that their interviews with staff indicated it was a common practice.

Based on an investigative team's observations at the clinic in January, the report said the staff was told to "never reuse needles or syringes when draining medications; never pool medications from individual vials; never use single-use vials for multiple patients and never recap needles."

They also were told to wash their hands before providing injections and to wear gloves for procedures that might involve contact with blood.

The report follows recent word from public health administrators that more than 80 people treated at the clinic tested positive for the potentially deadly virus and had no risk factors other than their treatments.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-16-08 1458EDT