This October I wrote about the North Dakota cluster of acute (recently infected) cases of genetically linked HCV from the same geographical region. It can’t happen in Ward County? Well, it did yet North Dakotan journalists must find the subject boring even though the Minot HCV outbreak is already larger than Exeter Hospital’s 32 cases–and where far more people were tested. (Only 500 people in the Minot area have been screened thus far.)
HCVs are opportunistic little devils that take happy advantage of the endless ways they can slip into new hosts wherever health care is provided. A nursing home may have been the setting for this transmission. But they point to the possibility that any of their infected patients may have first contracted HCV in a hospital, prior to admittance to their nursing home. And that hasn’t been ruled out yet.
The ND state epidemiologist, Tracy Miller, is still investigating but hasn’t released much information. Administer Kirby Kruger doesn’t sound worried. He stated:
“It’s important to remember that hepatitis C is not spread through the air, but instead through blood, and it is not spread easily,” said Kirby Kruger, director of the state Health Department’s Division of Disease Control. “At this point, we do not believe the general population to be at risk for hepatitis C related to this outbreak.”
Someone needs to clue him in on just how virile HCV is since the rising numbers of known cases doesn’t alarm him. The ND Dept. of Health press releases report these numbers:
August 12: 3 cases; October 16, 7 cases; October 17, 28 cases (revised to 27); October 30: Testing expanded again; November 12, 35 cases; Nov. 19, 40 cases.
Not spread easily? They know that 40 people were infected with HCV in a relatively short period of time from one common source in ND. The house is on fire. We, the general public, need to know what happened in Minot as soon as possible.