Nevada’s hepatitis C crisis is detailed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly trade publication, which focuses on disease awareness and prevention.
This week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report focuses on viral hepatitis and summarizes the CDC’s visit to Southern Nevada after learning that six people who tested positive for hepatitis C had procedures done at a Las Vegas endoscopy center last year.
Based on its observations, the CDC is recommending better surveillance, education and oversight to prevent the spread of hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases in health care settings.
Specifically, the CDC is urging compliance with infection control policies and that medical care professionals show competency in handling and administering certain medications intravenously.
Southern Nevada Health District officials believe more than 80 people may have contracted hepatitis C at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada at 700 Shadow Lane because of unsafe injection practices involving the drug Propofol, a intravenous anesthetic.
For its report, the CDC used anecdotes from the health district and the Nevada Health Division. The report can be viewed at http://health.nv.gov. An accompanying story is about May being Hepatitis Awareness Month.
In a statement, the health district’s chief health officer said it is important to publish the findings "in order to share this information with other health professionals who may be responding to similar situations.”
The CDC’s report is also an opportunity to provide more education to the medical care community on preventing such disease outbreaks, said Dr. Lawrence Sands.
The weekly morbidity and mortality reports are often used by academics to write papers about outbreaks.
They also offer insight into disease investigations for lay people, said Martha Framsted, a spokeswoman for the state’s health division.