The New Jersey Department of Health is saying that more than 3,000 patients at the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook NJ may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The HealthPlus Surgery Center serves mostly Black and hispanic patients.
Health department officials are calling the exposure an "emergency." Patients who had surgical procedures done at the surgery center between January 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018 may have been exposed.
The HelathPlus administrator Betty McCabe says the exposure was due to "deficiencies in infection control" involving the cleaning of instruments and injection of medications. McCabe says 3,778 patients are being urged to get their blood tested.
In a letter to patients, the HelathPlus center says “during this time period, lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens.”
It's not clear how many of the 3,000 patients was infected.
A state investigation found staff members were not following proper procedures. Officials shut down the facility from Sept. 7-28. It reopened after that.
The center says the risk of infection is low, but they still want people to get tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
“It is important to note that to date, there have not been reports of any infections or illness related to the investigation. However, HealthPlus and the New Jersey Department of Health are recommending that those patients get tested as soon as possible,” HealthPlus Surgery Center Administrator Betty McCabe said in a atatement. “We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process.”