Misuse of devices used in diabetes testing and insulin injection have resulted in at least 15 related outbreaks of hepatitis B and forced thousands of people to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV during the past 10 years, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statement reported by Mass Device.
The CDC reports that it “has become increasingly concerned about the risks for transmitting hepatitis B virus (HBV) and other infectious diseases during assisted blood glucose (blood sugar) monitoring and insulin administration. Reports of HBV infection outbreaks linked to diabetes care have been increasing.”
A number of recent incidents were cited in the report. For example, dozens of attendees at a 2010 health fair in New Mexico had blood taken with a glucose-sampling fingerstick device that wasn’t sterilized between uses. And at a Wisconsin hospital, more than 2,300 people were similarly exposed between 2006 and 2011 by a nurse who misused fingerstick devices and insulin injection pens when teaching newly diagnosed diabetics how to monitor their own glucose levels and inject insulin.
According to the CDC, the problem of exposure to infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B or C, through diabetes-related services will likely worsen over time, because of the growing rate of diabetes and an aging population. Older diabetics who need help with glucose monitoring and insulin delivery are especially vulnerable to misuse of medical devices by inadequately trained staff.