ND Health Department investigating Hepatitis C clusterThe North Dakota Department of Health is investigating a cluster of acute (recent infection) Hepatitis C cases in Ward County. The three cases were identified in two women and one man, all over 60 years of age.
The North Dakota Department of Health is investigating a cluster of acute (recent infection) Hepatitis C cases in Ward County. The three cases were identified in two women and one man, all over 60 years of age.
“Most of the Hepatitis C cases reported to the Department of Health are categorized as chronic cases, meaning the patients may have been infected years ago and may or may not have ever experienced symptoms of the disease. A case categorized as acute means the person was recently infected,” said Lindsey VanderBusch with the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control. “It’s unusual to have three acute cases show up within a few months and all within the same geographic area. That’s why we are investigating the cases to determine if there was a possible Connection.”
Testing has indicated that the virus from the three cases is genetically linked, indicating a possible common source. However, at this time, no source has been identified. Health officials are currently working to identify how these individuals were exposed and if there is a common source. Moving forward, any possible associations between these cases will be evaluated. Additional people who may have things in common with these cases may also be considered at risk for having Hepatitis C infection. The North Dakota Department of Health will be contacting anyone who may be associated with these cases to be tested for hepatitis C. Those who are considered at risk will be contacted by
phone or mail and given guidance about testing procedures. If you are not contacted regarding testing, there is no recommended action to take.