SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two months after patients at McKay-Dee Hospital and Davis Hospital received a letter informing them about their possible exposure to Hepatitis C, the Utah Department of Health says only a small percentage of those patients have gotten tested.
Only 2,600 of the 7,200 people who received a letter have actually gotten tested for the virus. That comes out to 35%. The Utah Department of Health is urging those remaining patients to take advantage of the free testing. Already the Utah Department of Health has confirmed several of those patients testing positive for the virus.
“Some have the 2b and some do not, and so we’ve identified people with Hepatitis C that are not associated with this investigation as well as people who are associated with the investigation,” says Dr. Angela Dunn with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Utah Department of Health.
The Utah Department of Health has been working closely with the two hospitals to personally call each patient, as the free testing wont be around for much longer.
“We just urge that anybody who received a letter and think they’re at risk with this investigation, go ahead and get tested before the end of this month, so that they can get connected to care if needed,” says Dr. Dunn.
We reached out to both hospitals to see how the testing at their facilities was being handled. McKay-Dee referred us to the Utah Department of Health for questions, while Davis released the following statement:
“Davis Hospital and Medical Center is working closely with the Utah Department of Health in the investigation. Currently, we have had nearly 50% of all those exposed tested. We have worked diligently to make contact wit those affected to ensure that appropriate testing is being done. We highly encourage each person to be tested before the end of January. Together with the Department of Health we will release numbers at the close of the investigation.”
They go on to add: “Nearly 50% of those that have been successfully contacted have received testing. We are working diligently to contact all 2,369 affected patients.”
A single blood draw is all that is needed to determine is someone has contacted Hepatitis. From that blood draw they can determine the exact type of strain. Symptoms of the disease can lay hidden for up to 25 years. So, the Department of Health is urging those remaining few to get tested as treatment is most effective before symptoms begin to show.
Hepatitis C is a curable disease especially the 2b genotype which is the one that is responsible for the outbreak. The Utah Department of Health is urging those remaining patients to go get tested so that if they do test positive they can get the treatment that they need.