Hepatitis C: Clinics timetabled over infection fear

So far 1,400 women have contacted health officials with 1,000 test appointments made

Related Stories

Clinics are starting to test former hospital patients for Hepatitis C after a health worker was diagnosed with the infection.

Some 5,000 women who were linked to the worker, who has since retired, have been offered tests.

The first specialist clinic was being held on Friday and 43 will be held over the next five weeks.

So far 1,400 women have contacted health officials with 1,000 test appointments made.

Public health officials said they were "really pleased" with the response from women who had received a letter offering tests.

Start Quote

I am getting married this year and this has just put a big black cloud over the wedding”

End Quote Elaine Luther Former patient

Two patients are known to have contracted the virus but Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - which covers the former Gwent area - said the risk of infection was low.

Hepatitis C is a virus which can lead to inflammation of the liver. If untreated, the infection can cause chronic liver disease and, very rarely, cancer of the liver.

Deborah Marsh, from Nelson in Caerphilly county, said she had a gut feeling she would receive a letter - which arrived on Friday morning.

The 43-year-old added: "I think it's awful and it makes you wonder what else is out there.

"You think through your mind how many times you've had to deal with the gynaecology department.

"I intend to have a blood test and I suppose it's going to be a very stressful time waiting for the result.

"Day-to-day life... is stressful and you don't need this to add to it."

Hepatitis C

  • Hepatitis C is a virus which can lead to inflammation of the liver
  • If untreated, the infection can cause chronic liver disease and, very rarely, cancer of the liver
  • Up to 1 person in 250 carries Hepatitis C but it does not automatically lead to health problems
  • It is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and, very rarely, through sexual intercourse
  • The most common route of transmission in the UK is intravenous drug use
  • It cannot be transmitted through social contact, kissing or sharing food and drink

SOURCE: Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

The alert was raised after the health board, which covers the former Gwent area, learnt a retired obstetrics and gynaecology worker had tested positive for the illness.

The individual mainly worked at Caerphilly District Miners Hospital but also worked briefly at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and the old East Glamorgan Hospital near Pontypridd.

Patients at a number of hospitals around the UK in the 1970s and 1980s are also being contacted if they were treated by the worker.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has arranged a series of nurse-led clinics to test those in Wales who come forward.

The majority will be held at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach and at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

The health board's public health director, Dr Gill Richardson, said: "We would encourage all women who receive a letter to contact the dedicated helpline number which is contained in each letter, to arrange their test as soon as possible.

"We need to again stress that the risk of transmission is low and testing is being provided as a precautionary measure."

People who have not received a letter but still have concerns are advised to contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or contact their GP.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.