Congress Fails To Fund Hepatitis Probe

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Southern Nevada health officials may face a
financial squeeze after Congress failed to pass a $5 million intended to help deal with the hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas.

Money that had been earmarked for the Southern Nevada Health District was stripped from an emergency spending bill before federal lawmakers completed their work on Thursday and sent the bill to the White House.

Also dropped from the bill was $21 million inserted by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid for outbreak prevention strategies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A portion of the CDC money would have been budgeted in Las Vegas. Authorities continue to investigate whether a group of clinics may have spread the potentially deadly disease.

Health investigators said more than 50,000 patients could have been exposed to hepatitis strains or the HIV virus through unsafe injection practices at the clinics.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal,

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

AP-NY-06-28-08 1336EDT

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