Wales

Two more patients infected with hepatitis C, health board confirms

Caerphilly Miners Hospital
Image caption The worker was mainly at Caerphilly District Miners Hospital

Two more patients have contracted the hepatitis C virus after being in contact with a healthcare worker, said a health board.

The retired obstetrics and gynaecology worker is already known to have passed on the infection to two other patients at a Welsh hospital from 1984 to 2003.

The individual mainly worked at Caerphilly District Miners Hospital.

But they also spent time at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and the old East Glamorgan Hospital near Pontypridd.

The worker, who retired over a decade ago, was unaware of having the disease while working in the health service.

Aneurin Bevan health board said the virus was known to have been transmitted from the worker to two patients between May 1984 and July 2003.

After the first two cases were confirmed earlier this year, around 5,000 women treated at Welsh hospitals were contacted to have blood tests.

And of the 3,300 patients who have since had tests, two have been found to have the virus, taking the total to four.

Dr Gill Richardson, director of public health for Aneurin Bevan Health Board, said: "The four women in total now known to have had hepatitis C transmission from the former healthcare worker are being offered care and support by our specialist services.

"We understand that this is a very difficult and distressing time for them and we would ask that everyone respects their need for compassion and confidentiality.

"We are thankful that we have been able to reassure other women tested and are grateful to all the patients who came forward to take the test."

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said it identified and contacted 80 patients treated by the worker at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in 1978 of which 60 agreed to be tested and had not been affected.

If hepatitis C is left untreated, the infection can cause chronic liver disease and, very rarely, cancer of the liver.

It is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and, very rarely, through sexual intercourse.

Although specialist clinics are no longer being held, public health officials say women who have been contacted but come forward can still arrange to receive a blood test.

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