- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Minot health care provider has filed a legal response that disputes a nursing home’s claims that it is responsible for dozens of residents contracting hepatitis C.

Trinity Health filed its response earlier this week to a lawsuit from ManorCare that alleges the health care provider is responsible for the disease outbreak discovered last year in Minot, according to KXMC-TV (http://bit.ly/UhVKwU ). ManorCare alleges in its lawsuit that one Trinity employee who administers phlebotomy services caused the outbreak.

The Trinity response denies any involvement or wrongdoing by Trinity employees or services.

Forty-six people were infected with the virus that can cause serious liver damage and even death. All but one of them had spent time at the ManorCare Health Services nursing home.

Hepatitis C, caused by a virus that results in an infection of the liver, is primarily transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Some people who get it recover, but most carry the virus in their blood for the course of their lifetime and can develop chronic infection.

Randy Schwan, Trinity’s vice president for marketing and community education, said that an investigation conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota State Health Department didn’t find a link between the Hepatitis C cases in Minot and Trinity’s phlebotomy or podiatry services.

“Based on the magnitude of this out outbreak, there is absolutely no physiological, statistical or epidemiological way possible for hepatitis C to be spread through either phlebotomy or podiatry services. It’s impossible,” he said. “Spreading this kind of thing over this length of time to this number of people through some kind of a sloppy needle use, even if you tried to, you couldn’t do it.”

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Information from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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