More than half of SGH patients 'exposed to hepatitis C' test negative, no new cases

SGH said that 441 out of 678 patients who were exposed to hepatitis C have been screened, and that 368 have tested negative for the disease.
SGH said that 441 out of 678 patients who were exposed to hepatitis C have been screened, and that 368 have tested negative for the disease. ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

SINGAPORE - More than half the patients suspected of having been exposed to hepatitis C at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) have tested negative.

In a statement on Wednesday, SGH said that 441 out of 678 patients have been screened. All had been admitted to wards 64A and 67 between January and June this year.

Some 368 tested negative for hepatitis C and have been informed of the results. The remaining 73 results are pending.

SGH is waiting to screen, or trying to contact, patients in the two wards who have yet to be tested.

Some 272 out of 319 staff have also been screened, all of whom tested negative.

SGH said: "Our doctors and medical social workers continue to meet with the affected patients and families to provide support."

Last week, SGH revealed that 22 kidney patients had contracted hepatitis C infections - which can lead to liver failure - while receiving treatment at the hospital.

Although the hospital first suspected that cases were related as early as mid-May, tests confirmed this only later.

Eight of the patients have died, and five of the deaths could be linked to the infection.

The Health Ministry has since launched a separate investigation into the matter.