Following the investigation of hospital healthcare technician, David Matthew Kwiatkowski, for his involvement in a hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire, the Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Department of Public Health have learned that he had spent time working in Arizona through a temporary staffing agency. State and county public health are assisting two Valley hospitals where he had brief contracted assignments, The Arizona Heart Hospital and Maryvale Hospital, to notify patients of potential exposure to hepatitis C.
“To be clear, we do not know and may never know if this individual was positive for hepatitis C while working in Arizona in 2009 and 2010,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Public Health. “We understand and recognize how this situation may cause concern among patients, which is why, as a precaution, our affected hospitals are making every effort to make sure patients who could have been exposed are notified and offered testing.”
Patients who received care in the cardiac catheterization labs at Maryvale Hospital from March 9, 2009 to June 27, 2009, or at the Arizona Heart Hospital from March 22, 2010 to April 2, 2010 are being contacted by mail to recommend they undergo confidential hepatitis C testing.
Hepatitis C testing will be offered and available at no charge to these patients at various laboratory locations over the next several weeks. A dedicated information line has been established for patients who have been notified as potentially being at risk, 602-674-6844. For patients wanting to email questions or concerns, an email mailbox is available at PHPIO@mail.maricopa.gov.
Hepatitis C is a virus that is passed through blood and affects the liver. Only about one in five persons who become infected with hepatitis C virus initially becomes ill, with symptoms ranging from a mild illness to more severe disease with nausea, vomiting and yellow eyes and skin. Most persons with hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection, which is a serious disease that can cause long-term health problems. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C virus. It is estimated that 1.6 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with hepatitis C.