DHEC expands hepatitis B investigation in N . Charleston

Published: May. 29, 2013 at 4:22 PM EDT|Updated: May. 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is expanding its investigation into a possible hepatitis B outbreak at a North Charleston clinic.

DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley said Wednesday the department was asking any patients who received an injection of some type at the Tri-County Spinal Care Center, located at 8626 Dorchester Road, since September 2011 to undergo tests to see if they contracted hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV.

That includes those patients who have received a spinal or joint injection, or even taken IV fluids there.

DHEC said their investigation included a review of infection control procedures and injection practices.

It was determined that procedures may have been performed that resulted in a potential for exposure to an infection.

Since the clinic's injection practices have not changed since they began offering injections in September 2011, DHEC cannot ensure that patients who received injections at any time since then were not exposed to a blood-borne pathogen.

Chiropractic Physician Cameron Willis commented on the expanded investigation on Wednesday, saying "We have always used sterile, single-use supplies for injections. We do not reuse syringes or needles."

The clinic was notified Friday, May 17, that they were under investigation after three patients were infected after receiving spinal injections on the same day in February.

According to a release from the clinic, the center is cooperating with DHEC's investigation.

DHEC ordered the North Charleston clinic to cease and desist all invasive procedures after the three patients were recently diagnosed with the disease.

Tri-County Spinal Care Center will be required to provide DHEC with: access to the building, clinic records and employees, and patient information as requested.

If patients are concerned they can call the clinic at 843-953-0095 to speak with a doctor.

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