CDC to share outbreak findings


Federal health officials have agreed to share their findings with local authorities in the ongoing investigation of the hepatitis C outbreak.

Lawyers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday notified the Clark County district attorney's office they would hand over the contents of their investigation into the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, District Attorney David Roger said.

The contents would include names of the nurses and doctors who performed procedures on patients who became infected, he said. Roger said he hoped to have the information soon but had not been given a timeline by the CDC.

The information sharing will save local investigators from retracing the steps already taken by the CDC, he said.

"We're happy that the CDC is cooperating," said Roger, who added that the federal agency did not have to share its information.

A CDC report released last week linked six acute hepatitis C cases to one of two clinic nurse anesthetists who routinely used unsafe injection practices, including reusing syringes and single-use vials of medication. The CDC report did not name the nurses or doctors involved in the procedures.

Southern Nevada Health District investigators have linked a seventh acute hepatitis C case to the Shadow Lane clinic and an eighth case to an affiliated clinic, the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.

Las Vegas police, the FBI and the state attorney general's office have been investigating the clinic since March. Authorities raided more than half a dozen medical offices affiliated with the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and seized thousands of patient records.

The FBI and attorney general's office were focusing on insurance fraud issues, while local authorities were focused on patient care and safety issues.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.

 

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