2 more SGH patients tested positive for hep C, test done to determine if they are from affected cluster

Two more Singapore General Hospital patients have tested positive for hepatitis C.
Two more Singapore General Hospital patients have tested positive for hepatitis C.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two more patients from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) have tested positive for hepatitis C.

Test are being done to determine if they are from the affected cluster, SGH said in a statement on Friday (Oct 23).

The new cases were reported two days after another patient was tested positive for the virus, bringing t he total number of people infected to 25.

The two patients were among the 601 people screened so far.

"However, genotyping and phylogenetic studies are still being carried out to determine if the patients are part of the affected cluster," said SGH. "We have informed the patients and their families, and will arrange for appointments with our hepatologists to advise them on the treatment options."

ProfessorFong Kok Yong, chairman of SGH's medical board, said: "Both patients are currently well.

"While we are still in the process of determining whether they are part of the cluster, our priority is to ensure that the patients can access timely and appropriate medical care. We will monitor their conditions closely and provide them with assistance if necessary."

SGH also said that while contacting patients for screening, the hospital found out that a patient had died due to advanced cancer.

"Based on our review of the patient's medical history, we have ruled out hepatitis C as a contributing cause," said Prof Fong.

The hospital had contacted patients who had stayed in wards 64A and 67 from January to June this year for screening, after it announced on Oct 6 that 22 kidney patients had contracted hepatitis C while receiving treatment at the hospital. Eight have died, with five of the deaths possibly linked to the infection.

As of 4pm on Friday (Oct 23), a total of 309 staff have also been screened. Of them, 305 tested negative. while four test results are pending.

Two international experts were appointed on Tuesday (Oct 20) to the independent review committee looking into the spread of hepatitis C in SGH.

Investigations are under way, said the committee, including ward visits, interviewing staff from SGH, reviewing the movement and care of the patients, and reviewing existing hospital records.

The hospital also filed a police report on Tuesday (Oct 20) in order to rule out any possibility of foul play.