Dirty Needles May Be Cause Of Hepatitis B Outbreak In Nursing Home

syringe.jpgWe recently discussed the Hepatitis B outbreak at a North Carolina Nursing Home that has take the lives of several patients.  Now as authorities look for the source of this outbreak, they are beginning to look at dirty needles as the source for spreading the disease from one patient to another.

According to news reports, the owner of the facility (GlenCare of Mount Olive) claims that Division of Public Health investigators told him that the outbreak stems from five medical technicians had reused diabetes pens when checking patients’ blood sugar levels.

So far, eight patients at the nursing home have tested positive for Hepatitis B, and five of them have died. Rarely found in a healthcare setting, Hepatitis B is a blood-borne disease typically transmitted by exposure to blood or body fluids and is commonly associated with drug use.

Certainly, if dirty needles really are the culprit for this Hepatitis outbreak, these technicians were negligent in violating ‘medical care 101’.  What makes this situation even more alarming is the fact that five (allegedly) technicians were using the dirty needles.  Who is training these people?

For laws related to North Carolina nursing homes, look here.


Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Among Persons Undergoing Blood Glucose Monitoring in Long-Term–Care Facilities — Mississippi, North Carolina, and Los Angeles County, California, 2003–2004

Hepatitis B outbreak at NC nursing home todaysthv.vom November 11, 2010

Hollow-bore needlestick injuries in a tertiary teaching hospital- epidemiology, education and engineering (PDF) By R Michael Whitby and Mary-Louise McLaws

Best infection control practices for intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular needle injections (PDF) HUTIN, Yvan and MEMBERS OF THE INJECTION SAFETY BEST PRACTICES DEVELOPMENT GROUP et al.

Home Health Care Patients and Safety Hazards in the Home- Preliminary Findings (PDF) Robyn R.M. Gershon, MT, MHS, DrPH; Monika Pogorzelska, MPH; Kristine A. Qureshi, RN, DNSc; Patricia W. Stone, PhD; Allison N. Canton, BA; Stephanie M. Samar, BA; Leah J. Westra, BA; Marc R. Damsky, MPH; Martin Sherman, PhD

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric