VA Infects Veterans With HIV, Hepatitis… Update: Mizzou Mumps Outbreak Spreads… ‘Riskiest City’ For Hiv, Miami Opens Needle Exchange
VA may have infected 600 veterans with HIV and Hepatitis
Nearly 600 veterans could have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at a Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah, Wis. because a dentist didn’t properly clean his instruments.
The Tomah VA is investigating the dentist, who has not been fired but was removed from patient care. According to acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, the dentist was using his own equipment for routine dental exams, then cleaning it and using it again. This violates VA rules, which require use of disposable equipment to ensure sterility.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said at a news conference Tuesday. “During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”
The doctor has not been identified, complying with federal employee protections. He was one of four dentists employed by the VA, where he worked between October 2015 and October 2016.
As a precautionary measure, the VA is contacting all 592 veterans he treated to test for possible infections. It will provide free medical care to anyone who has an infection. VA spokesman Matthew Gowan said there is no indication any infections were transmitted, but “out of an abundance of caution it’s still the proper things to do.” He said the doctor was removed from patient care as soon as senior staff became aware of his actions on Oct. 21.
Mizzou Students Urged to Cancel Social Events as Mumps Spread
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMOX/AP) – (UPDATED 8:15 a.m.) The University of Missouri is urging student groups to halt some social events as the number of mumps cases continues to rise.
University spokesman Christian Basi said Thursday that “for the safety of our students and university community” the school has called off a late night breakfast during finals week that typically draws from 1,500 to 2,000 students, plus faculty and staff. Finals begin Dec. 12.
He said the school also is urging student groups to consider canceling or postponing other social events. Most of the cases are linked to students in fraternities and sororities.
The outbreak began in early November with four confirmed cases on the Columbia, Missouri campus. The Student Health Center reported the latest numbers Wednesday.
SLU Care pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital told KMOX there are a few ways to help prevent it from spreading:
“If you are in a household with someone who has mumps, don’t share their glass, don’t share their utensils,” Haller says.
‘Riskiest city’ for HIV, Miami opens first needle exchange
Miami (AFP) – Homeless men curl up on mattresses along a broken sidewalk littered with trash and syringes in Miami, a city struggling with the highest rate of new HIV infections of any big American metropolis.
Around the corner, Florida’s first-ever needle exchange program opens Thursday, decades later than in many parts of the United States, and experts hope not too late to curb the burgeoning health crisis.
“We already have the perfect storm here in Miami,” said Hansel Tookes, a 35-year-old doctor who began working several years ago to open a needle exchange in south Florida.
“We have a serious heroin epidemic. We were a cocaine town, but now we have this transition into opiate use,” he added, referring to prescription painkillers that some inject to get high.
Miami’s rate of new HIV infections — 51.2 per 100,000 people — far exceeds any other metropolitan area in the United States, according to data released this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The nearly 1,400 new HIV infections last year in Miami — a metro area including some 2.7 million people — is about double the rate of all other big American cities, after adjusting for population size.
“Miami has overthrown Baton Rouge, Louisiana as the riskiest city for HIV,” said Ethan Reynolds, a spokesman for GetTested.com.