LAS VEGAS -- Nearly two years since the hepatitis C outbreak, the Southern Nevada Health District announced the investigation is complete.
From the very beginning, the investigation says the whole mess started from unsafe injection practices. What's important now is that every detail is outlined for the public to see.
"Even though we are done with our particular piece, the situation is not over. Protecting patient safety is the kind of an issue that will be a major issue for some time," said Brian Labus, Senior Epidemiologist with SNHD.
Labus authored the report. To date, there are 106 possibly linked cases of hepatitis C. Nine cases are directly linked to the outbreak. It is the largest hepatitis C outbreak in the nation's history.
Metro completed its own investigation, which the District Attorney is still reviewing. At this point, it's unknown what criminal charges will fill be filed. Civil cases are still ongoing.
Labus hopes the report raises more awareness on both the physician side and the patient side. "It's getting people to understand the risk of these things – education. Getting patients involved in their own care, to ask questions and be comfortable saying, ‘What are you doing to keep me safe as a patient,'" he said.
A new campaign will be launched in Nevada in the beginning of 2010. Posters will be put up that stress the importance of using one needle, one syringe, only one time. The Centers for Disease Control received $2.5 million for the educational outreach.
Nevada and New York are the first two places where the printed campaign ads will be seen.
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