The North Dakota Department of Health has been dealing with an outbreak of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Minot, North Dakota. The outbreak was first noticed at a local nursing home, and all but two cases are related to ManorCare. Most recently, two cases have been identified outside of ManorCare at Somerset Court. Thus far, the total case number is at 47, 45 at ManorCare and two at Somerset Court. Since the investigation began last August 2013, the Health Department has tested at least 500 people for exposure to the virus.

The ND Department of Health has stated that the HCV isolated from infected persons is genetically related and epidemiologically linked to the nursing home. The data coming from the investigation is minimal at this point, and I haven’t seen anything reported on what they think the source is.

HCV is typically transmitted by blood contact via transfusion or shared needle/sharps exposure. There have been past cases of HCV or HBV, hospital-acquired infections (iatrogenic) relating to glucose point of care testing, dialysis centers, or medication contamination by drug-abusing health care workers.

I will definitely be watching this outbreak closely. Hopefully a source can be determined.

I encourage everyone to use the comments section below!

  • Lance D. Presser has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and is a public health laboratorian.
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This entry was originally published on Lance’s Science Macrocosm September 28. It is reprinted with permission.