Hepatitis C alert sent to PVH patients

More than 200 patients treated in intensive care at Poudre Valley Health, may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, hospital officials said Monday.

Letters have been sent to 210 adult, PVH ICU patients treated between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug.28, 2012 and others who are known to have received certain painkillers.

Officials said there no patients have been found to have acquired Hepatitis C and there is no evidence of harm to patients.

PVH President and CEO Kevin Unger said the alert was sent out because a former employee suspected of diverting prescription painkillers was found to have had Hepatitis C. Whether the suspect exposed patients to the disease during the period in which he was infectious isn’t clear. The employee has since been fired and the case has been turned over to Fort Collins police and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that can be treated effectively during the first one to two years after the initial infection. Cases that go undiagnosed for long periods of time, however, can result in fatal liver disease.

As a result, hospital officials are urging all patients who may have been exposed to come in for free, confidential testing as soon as possible. The tests involve drawing blood and in most cases results are available the same day. For more information, visit www.pvhs.org/hep-c.

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