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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Patients offered tests for hep C
Blood
NHS Ayrshire & Arran has offered advice and testing
Patients in Ayrshire are to be offered tests for hepatitis C amid concern that they may have been infected by a health care worker more than 15 years ago.

Some people who underwent surgery, such as caesareans or hysterectomies, were offered tests in 2005 but none were found to be infected.

However, after new advice a wider group of more than 230 is being contacted.

The health worker was based at the Crosshouse and Ayr Central hospitals from 1990 to 1991.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran said there were no positive results among those who took up the offer of testing two years ago.

I want to emphasise that the risk is very small
Dr Maida Smellie
Public health consultant

However, UK-wide two positive cases have been identified which could be linked to the virus type contracted by the health care worker.

Letters have been sent to 236 patients who may have been at risk of infection, giving them information and advice and inviting them to attend for a blood test.

Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Maida Smellie, said: "I understand that this news may cause anxiety to some people, but I want to emphasise that the risk is very small, and that we are offering screening purely as a precaution.

"Treatment for hepatitis C continues to improve, so we have made every effort to identify anyone who may have been infected during their care and offer them appropriate treatment."

In virtually every case the hepatitis C virus is transmitted by blood to blood contact. Ordinary social contact does not pose a risk.

Members of the public who have not been contacted, but who have concerns, are asked to ring an advice line on 0870 0501999.


SEE ALSO
Ministers in 'killer virus' drive
26 Sep 06 |  Scotland
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