Unsafe injection practices lead to HCV outbreak, clinic closure: 4 insights

Seven patients who received an injection procedure as part of prolotherapy contracted hepatitis C, leading to the closure of the clinic, according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Here are four insights:

1. In November 2014, the California Department of Public Health contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about a report from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department regarding acute hepatitis C virus infection in a repeat blood donor.

2. The donor underwent prolotherapy, regenerative injection therapy to treat chronic pain, at a clinic, which was not named. Six other patients who received injections at the clinic were also determined to have HCV.

3. An initial investigation into the clinic showed numerous infection control breaches, including:

•    Re-entering multidose medication vials with a used syringe
•    Use of single-dose medication vials for multiple patients
•    Poor hand hygiene
•    Inconsistent glove use
•    Lack of aseptic technique when handling injection equipment and medication

4. A second investigation "revealed ongoing poor infection control practices by staff members," noted the report. The clinic was ordered to close.

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