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Hepatitis B outbreak in assisted living facility caused by unsafe blood monitoring device use

A Hepatitis B outbreak in early October that killed five residents at a Mount Olive, NC, assisted living facility was found to be caused by unsafe blood glucose monitoring practices.

According to wnct.com, after investigating, the State Health Department found a drawer full of glucometers stored together [1] on the medication cart without clearly identifying the name of residents. An interview with a medication technician found that the devices were not cleaned and disinfected properly between uses.

However, Ann Kornegay, who is the Vice President of the Glen Care Assisted Living Facility, defended her entire staff on the allegations, stating that her staff used the right techniques in using the the devices.

At the time of the outbreak, Megan Davies, State Epidemiologist, said nothing was going on where needles were being shared, according to a post in OSHA Healthcare Advisor [2].

The infection could possibly have been prevented if the glucometers had been stored somewhere separately, and if they were labeled to the proper residents, said Davies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to healthcare professionals using glucose meters and  insulin pens [3] on more than one patient. Two hospitals had been found to be sharing insulin pens, putting over 2,000 people at risk for HIV and hepatitis [4], according to a post by OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

See the CDC download for safe injection practices in diabetes care on the Tools page. [5]

What type of actions does your healthcare take after an outbreak? What should happen to this assisted living facility? Let us know in our comment section