Two Kansas Patients Test Positive In “Serial Infector” Hep-C Probe
Two patients at a hospital in Hays, Kansas may have been infected with the hepatitis C virus by a contract medical worker facing federal charges in New Hampshire. Prosecutors say David Kwiatkowski infected 30 people in New Hampshire with the liver disease in the process of tampering with and diverting hospital drugs.
He allegedly spread the virus by stealing syringes filled with drugs and injecting himself, then allowing the contaminated equipment to be used on patients.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says of 334 patients tested for the disease at Hays Medical Center, 311 have tested negative. But two have tested positive “with a strain that is closely related to the cluster of patients in New Hampshire.”
For the remaining patients who have submitted blood specimens, either their laboratory tests are still in process or they have not completed epidemiologic interviews.
A total of 474 patients were identified as having procedures in the catheterization lab where Kwiatkowski worked between May and September of 2010. KDHE will be contacting those patients who have not been tested through the agency to determine if they have been tested elsewhere.
“Our highest priority at this time is to identify patients who may be infected with hepatitis C so they can receive appropriate medical care,” said Robert Moser, MD, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
The investigation here is ongoing, with officials checking the death certificates of about 50 pateitns
Hays Medical Center is contacting all patients who have been tested to explain their laboratory test results and provide recommendations for follow-up medical care as needed. In addition, Hays Medical Center is also following up with any patients who have not yet sought testing.