The Public Health Department is scrambling to determine whether patients of a medical clinic in Santa Barbara County have been infected with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) after unsafe injection practices were observed at the unnamed office.
Health officials said an “active and thorough investigation” is being conducted to determine if any of the patients were in fact exposed to the blood-borne viruses. The Public Health Department became aware of the potential exposures while investigating a case of Hepatitis C that may have been acquired from an injection at the clinic.
“During this investigation, the medical office was observed not following standard/universal precautions to protect themselves and their patients,” said Public Health spokesperson Susan Klein-Rothschild in a statement. “The healthcare professional at this medical clinic is cooperating in providing patient records and other relevant information.”
The clinic has been closed, patients are being identified and contacted, and laboratory tests have been arranged. An information phone line is also being established for patients to receive notification of their potential risk.
The viruses “are not transmitted through casual contact,” said Klein-Rothschild. “There is no risk to members of the public who did not have injection procedures at the one medical office.”
The Public Health Department has so far not released any additional information.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.