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Clinic closed following outbreak of hepatitis C

(China Daily)

09:43, February 06, 2013

Patients infected with hepatitis C receive treatment at a hospital in Donggang, Liaoning province, on Sunday. Ninety-five people were hospitalized after they were suspected of being infected with the disease at a local clinic. (Photo/Xinhua)

Police in Donggang, Liaoning province, detained a surgeon in a clinic that is suspected of causing a concentrated outbreak of hepatitis C among more than 90 people.

Local health authorities have suspended its business for further investigation.

Authorities in Donggang said in a statement that they have tracked down all 120 people who underwent invasive varicosis treatment - for veins that have become enlarged - at the clinic, which is suspected as the source of infection, and did blood tests on them.

Of the 120 patients, 96 who may have hepatitis C have been hospitalized, but the source is yet to be determined, Tang Jun, deputy Party chief of Donggang's health bureau, told China Daily.

"They show symptoms of nausea and fatigue," he said, adding that tests show some have higher levels of an enzyme in their blood that could indicate liver damage.

The clinic started varicosis treatments on Oct 22, and the health bureau was tipped off that people were hospitalized "only three days after" receiving such treatment in the clinic, said Tang.

A patient, Li Jingyou, told China News Service he went to the clinic for varicosis treatment after seeing its advertisement in October, but he felt dizzy and nauseated in January, and learned he had hepatitis C after a medical test.

Police detained a doctor at the clinic on Feb 2.

The city's authorities said they are now treating the people affected according to a plan designed by the Health Department of Liaoning province.

Wang Xiaochun, a researcher with China CDC's Division of Hepatitis C and STD Prevention, said the office has not yet received a report determining the causes of this suspected outbreak.

"It's hard to determine when and where someone got hepatitis C because it is transmitted in exactly the same ways as hepatitis B. In addition to infections within hospitals, there are various courses of infection such as getting tattoos and ear piercings, and their symptoms are usually so light that people tend to neglect them," he said. But there is no need to panic, for the disease is curable, he added.

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