Maryland Department of Health Completes Hepatitis C Investigation

BALTIMORE -- Results of an investigation of an October outbreak of acute hepatitis C confirm that no additional cases are expected to be associated with this incident, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).  The department reported in December that a number of individuals had developed clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatitis C.


The investigation found that 16 individuals were exposed to the hepatitis C virus when given a product prepared by a nuclear pharmacy. DHMH evidence indicates that contamination occurred on October 15, 2004 during production of one specific lot of a cardiac stress test product at Nuclear Pharmacy Services of Cardinal Health in Timonium. Doses drawn from this lot were injected into the 16 individuals at three clinics in central Maryland later that same day. All 16 later developed clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatitis C.


A specific mechanism for the contamination was not determined.  At this time, the nuclear pharmacy remains closed.


DHMH studied other recipients of this product made immediately prior to and after the one specific lot and found no evidence of risk for hepatitis C among other patients.  DHMH is not recommending further testing for other persons who received the product on Oct. 15, 2004 or on other dates.  


DHMH and several local health departments will continue to provide counseling and opportunities for follow-up testing, including testing for other bloodborne pathogens, to the recipients of the specific lot. Healthcare providers should continue to promptly report all cases of acute hepatitis C to the local health department.


Source: Maryland DHMH