Anesthesia Contamination Tied to Hepatitis

ATLANTA, July 25 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found patients can be infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C via intravenous administration of anesthesia.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta investigated an outbreak of acute hepatitis B and hepatitis C among patients at two gastroenterology clinics who received anesthesia during endoscopy procedures from the same anesthesiologist.


The researchers linked six cases of outbreak-associated hepatitis C infection and six cases of hepatitis B infection in one clinic, and one hepatitis C infection in a second clinic, to propofol administrated by the same anesthesiologist who inappropriately used a single-use vial of the drug for multiple patients. Propofol is used for the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia.

Reuse of syringes to re-dose patients, with resulting contamination of medication vials used for subsequent patients, likely resulted in viral transmission, the researchers said.

The study, published in Gastroenterology, found anesthesia contamination — not endoscopy contamination — was the cause of infection.

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