The Daily News - BREAKING
Friday, March 23rd, 2018

GCHD: County clinic patients potentially exposed to HIV, hepatitis

By JOHN WAYNE FERGUSON The Daily News​ ​ ​


People who received medical or dental procedures at two Galveston County clinics were potentially exposed to serious infectious diseases because of infection control failures, the Galveston County Health District said in a statement issued Friday.

The district advised people who received treatment at the Coastal Health and Wellness centers in Texas City and Galveston between March 1, 2015, and Feb. 13, 2018, to get tested for Hepatitis B Hepatitis C and HIV.

The district's top health official, Dr. Philip Keiser, said there was no "conclusive evidence," that people had been infected, but that the district would err on the side of caution by informing people about their potential exposure.

"Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are serious medical conditions," Keiser said. "People who are infected may not exhibit any symptoms of the disease for many years, so that is why it is important to get tested and treated."

The district began investigating the potential exposure Feb. 13, after an accreditation agency review identified breaches in infection control, specifically for procedures that require medical instruments to be sterilized. 

The district suspended dental and medical procedures at the clinics on Feb. 14.

The district statement did not name any specific procedures that may have put people at risk. People who have undergone invasive medical or dental procedures that require sterilization, including blood draws, should be tested, the health district said.

The health district said it would provide free tests for the diseases at its office in Texas City, at 9850-A Emmett F. Lowry Expressway.

Testing services will begin Monday, the district said in a press release.

The district is also setting up a investigation hotline to answer question from people about the potential exposure.

This is a developing story. Check back later for more.

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