- Associated Press - Friday, August 24, 2012

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire hospital says it’s notifying about 500 employees and affiliated clinicians the state is recommending they be tested for hepatitis C after an outbreak of the disease linked to a lab worker there.

Exeter Hospital will be coordinating testing over the next two weeks.

The state public health department has held numerous testing clinics for patients of the hospital, where a former worker has been accused of stealing drugs and contaminating needles used on patients in the cardiac catheterization lab. Thirty-two former lab patients have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C as David Kwiatkowski (kwiht-KOW’-skee) since the investigation began in May.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues.

Kwiatkowski has pleaded not guilty to stealing drugs and tampering with needles.