Unprecedented Hepatitis C Outbreak In North Dakota

Negligence is blamed for an unprecedented outbreak of hepatitis C, which involves 44 individuals that are linked to ManorCare Nursing Home and Trinity Health. Although there was a total of 52 individuals diagnosed with hepatitis C in and around Minot, North Dakota, it was determined by state investigators that 44 of the cases were linked to this particular nursing home.

The nursing home allows external service providers to enter the facility and perform podiatric, phlebotomy, and nail care for the residents. Claims that were made by several of the plaintiffs stated that this negligence has been occurring for more than a decade.

Trinity Health’s Director of Infectious Disease, Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe admits that the outbreak should not be labeled an accident, since the statistics say otherwise. North Dakota Health Department and CDC was responsible for the investigation and both agreed with Dr. Nwaigwe.

The plaintiffs ranged from 65-92 years of age with four of whom died. It appears that the ManorCare Nursing Home is still up and running. How will the state department handle this obvious medical negligence and malpractice case?

 

Hepatitis C

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C, which makes it much more difficult to control an outbreak. The hepatitis C virus attacks the liver causing a short-term infection, but for victims with immunodeficiency disorders, cancer, and other chronic diseases, will not be so lucky.

It has been determined that many victims will not know the time of contact or how long they have been infected with the virus, because they will not exhibit any clinical signs for a very long time.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C Transmission

This virus is capable of spreading through the skin, but the most common form of transmission is intravenous drug use. In healthcare facilities, most cases are linked to accidental needle stick injuries. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted through the placenta to the baby, which means that the newborn will be hepatitis C positive.

HCV spreads less often through sexual contact and sharing contaminated hygienic instruments such as razors and toothbrushes.

 

Signs Of Hepatitis C

Every individual is different, which means you may or may not exhibit all of the symptoms.

  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing color of the skin and sclera)
  • Light/clay colored stool
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and malaise
  • Decreased appetite

Most common signs are fatigue, decreased appetite, jaundice, and abdominal pain.

Hepatitis C Incubation Period

The incubation period is determined to be the time from the point of exposure to the onset of symptoms. HCV incubation period will range anywhere from 2-24 weeks