The Ministry of Health (MOH) has warned kidney dialysis centres to segregate patients with hepatitis B and properly clean equipment used by them. This came in a 14 Oct 2015 circular after it found that several centres had flouted these guidelines. The warning comes two weeks after news of the hepatitis C outbreak at the Singapore General Hospital was made public.
MOH did not reveal how many centres had not been following the guidelines. According to the Singapore Renal Registry's latest report, more than half of dialysis patients in 2013 had dialysis in centres run by voluntary welfare organisations such as the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) or Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF). There are 95 kidney dialysis centres in Singapore.
NKF said it has always stuck to the guidelines and uses "separate equipment for hepatitis B cases". It also said patients with hepatitis B and hepatitis C are separately assigned to different dialysis centres to rule out any possibility of cross infection.
KDF said all its centres use single-use dialysers - the artificial kidneys that help clean the blood - for hepatitis B patients.
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Source: “Dialysis centres warned on hep B rules”, (The Straits Times, 6 Nov 2015)