VA: 10 colonoscopy patients have hepatitis

March 27, 2009 12:05:37 PM PDT
The Veterans Affairs department says 10 people have tested positive for infectious liver disease since they were exposed to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. The 10 are among thousands of patients who have been warned to get blood tests since being treated at VA facilities in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Miami and Augusta, Ga. All three sites failed to properly sterilize equipment between treatments.

VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said Friday that four Tennessee patients have tested positive for hepatitis B. Six have tested positive for hepatitis C, a potentially life-threatening form of the viral infection that can cause permanent liver damage.

She says the VA will make sure they get treatment even though it's not known if the infections came from colonoscopies at its facilities.

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