Patients contract Hep C in dialysis at hospital

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-09 14:18

Fifteen people were infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) during hemodialysis treatments at a hospital in Anhui province since November.

Zhu Yunwu, deputy director of the hospital, said 15 of the 70 people contracted the virus during the treatments. Some 24 of the 70 tested positive for Hepatitis C, but nine of the 70 were not infected during the treatment, and must have contracted it elsewhere, Zhu said.

An uraemia patient Chu Chenqiang discovered that he was infected with Hepatitis C after he had more than 100 hemodialysis treatments in Huoshan County Hospital.

Zhu told the Beijing Times yesterday that the longer the patient was taking hemodialysis treatment, the more the risk of getting the virus. The infection rate is about 30 percent in China.

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About 70 percent of the patients with the HVC can effectively rid their body of the virus after medical treatment, Zhu said.

With eight hemodialysis machines, the hospital has treated 201 patients with uraemia. The causes of the infection of HCV are still under investigation.

Wang Fangyun, director of the hospital quality management department, told the Beijing Times that the hemodialysis office has been reconfigured, separating patients with HCV from those without. The new hemodialysis treatment office, with four new machines, is in place to eliminate the infection rate. The incident is not an isolated case in hospitals across the country. In March, 20 patients were infected with Hepatitis C during hemodialysis treatments at two hospitals in Shanxi province.

The infected patients are among 47 people who received hemodialysis at the Taiyuan Public Transportation Company's hospital and the Shanxi Coalmine Central Hospital between December and January. The hospital leaders were sacked after the incident was exposed.

The same month, at least 64 people were infected with HCV after receiving blood transfusions in a county hospital in Guizhou province.

The problem was discovered after an unnamed patient was given a blood transfusion during an operation in the People's Hospital of Pingtang County in March 2001.

Hospital staff traced the blood to donor Li Cailing, 43, a native of Jiangsu province, who had kept donating up to 20,000 ml of blood for money to the hospital from October 1998 to June 2002.

The latest Ministry of Health's circular urged medical institutions and hospitals at all levels to strengthen safety awareness and take effective measures for safety in hemodialysis.

Beijing News contributed to the story