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Hepatitis Scare in Toronto

Hepatitis was picked up during the routine blood analysis among dialysis patients at Scarborough Hospital. About 400 dialysis patients are estimated to have acquired hepatitis.// People are urged not to share their toothbrushes or razors with family members, and to use condoms during sex. Eight new infections have been recorded says Dr. Michael Finkelstein, an associate medical officer with Toronto Public Health. He says that it is a significant number. But he is not sure as to how dialysis patients who use the facilities run by Scarborough Hospital would have become infected with the hepatitis B or C.

Sherian Mondesir, a spokeswoman for Scarborough Hospital said that the dialysis centres at Scarborough Hospital uses clean, modern equipment. She said that so far the source of infection is not detected but officials are taking many precautions. Hepatitis leads to disabling liver failure, and even death. Public health department is circulated letters in English, Chinese, Tamil and Tagalog warning patients about hepatitis. This news has caused panic in some families. Infection is a constant worry for all hemodialysis patients now as the hepatitis virus is carried in the blood, but can survive outside the body for days. It can pass between hosts through sex, intravenous needles -- and contaminated hospitals. Ms. Mondesir said that the hospital follow strict infection control and safety measures.


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