Measures Taken for Hepatitis C Outbreak

The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is currently screening all staff and patients who might have been exposed to hepatitis C.

SGH revealed yesterday (6 Oct) that 22 patients who were hospitalised for kidney problems between April and June 2015 had hepatitis C. Eight of them have since died, with four of the deaths linked to the viral infection.

A total of 411 patients, excluding the already diagnosed 22 patients, who passed through the affected wards between January and June 2015 are being screened.

SGH will continue to monitor those whose screening results do not reveal any abnormality for six months - the maximum known incubation period for the hepatitis C virus.

The hospital is also screening 42 doctors and 51 nurses who were directly involved in caring for the affected patients. All staff have tested negative so far, said Professor Fong Kok Yong, chairman of SGH's medical board. Doctors who were formerly caring for the patients but are now posted elsewhere will also be recalled.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has appointed an independent review committee to scrutinise SGH's internal investigations and findings. MOH will share the findings of the review committee with the public when the review is completed in about two months’ time.

What can be done to better support the affected patients and their family members?

Read MOH’s press release on "Ministry of Health Convenes Independent Review Committee on Hepatitis C Cluster in Singapore General Hospital".

Source: “SGH hepatitis C outbreak: SGH screening staff, patients who may have been exposed” (The Straits Times, 7 October 2015)

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