77 More Hepatitis C Cases Identified - 8 News NOW

Melissa Duran, Reporter

77 More Hepatitis C Cases Identified

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Since the unsafe practices were discovered, the health district has confirmed 8 cases of acute hepatitis. But that number may grow significantly as the health district looks into whether 77 more cases are linked to the clinic.

On these new cases, the health district is careful to use the phrase "potentially linked."

"We've ruled out major risk factors, but that's not to say that there aren't other risk factors out there. So we've ruled out the major ones, but we can never be certain the clinic procedure is the one that actually resulted in the transmission of disease," said Brian Labus with the Southern Nevada Health District.

Since the scare began, about 200 people every day have tested positive for hepatitis C. Each of those people are interviewed and surveyed by the health district to determine if they may have contracted hepatitis from the Endoscopy Center.

"We make phone calls and start to ask them about procedure dates. From there, sometimes we had bad contact information -- some don't want to talk. So it is going through the process," said Labus.

The health district says they can't make an announcement every time a potential link is found, saying they have to wait to gather as much information as possible.

"We are putting out info because this is a long process. This is not the final piece of information we will have. This is the first of many reports we will be able to make on our progress," said Labus.

Though he can't say when their next update will be, the health district is positive more potential links will be found.

"The risk changes every single day for these patients, based on what happened and what patient was there before them. And so there is no way to make estimations to how many people were infected by the clinics," said Labus.

Patients treated at the Burnham clinic, where one case of acute hepatitis C was found, have still not been notified. Health district officials say this is just the beginning of a very long investigation.

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