22 kidney patients from the renal ward at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) have been infected with hepatitis C. Eight patients have died, of which four are linked to the viral infection.
Preliminary investigations indicate the outbreak is linked to the misuse of multi-dose vials, or medication containers from which multiple dosages are extracted.
SGH is confident that the transmission of the virus in its newly renovated Ward 67 has stopped, said its chief executive officer, Professor Ang Chong Lye at a press conference yesterday (6 Oct). Prof Ang added that the hospital will “take responsibility” for all necessary treatments. So far, two patients have been given newer antiviral medicine that costs $90,000. SGH is currently screening all staff and patients who might have been exposed to hepatitis C.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it has set up an independent review committee to provide an objective and critical review of SGH’s investigation and findings. The committee is expected to complete its review in two months.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday (6 Oct) that he was "deeply concerned" by the infection at SGH, which he was told of at the end of last month. He said: "My thoughts are with the affected patients and their families."
The 22 patients range in age from 24 years to 70 years, with most in their 50s and 60s. The latest case was diagnosed on 18 Sep.
Source: “21 patients at SGH hit by hepatitis C; MOH orders probe” (The Straits Times, 7 Oct 2015) and “4 dead after 22 infected in SGH hepatitis C outbreak” (TODAY, 7 Oct 2015)
Source: Straits Times