35 people in the Calgary area have been contacted by Alberta Health Services (AHS), warning them they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
They all underwent gastrointestinal endoscopic tests at Calgary’s Peter Lougheed hospital between November 29 and December 2.
AHS said Tuesday there was an issue with washers used to clean the equipment. Several small parts were missing from the washers, which direct disinfectant through the endoscopes.
AHS became aware of the problem on December 2nd and the three washers involved were repaired.
Patients have been told there is a low risk, one in one million, that they may have contracted hepatitis B or C and a very low risk, one in 10 million, that they may have been exposed to HIV.
AHS is only contacting those patients who were potentially exposed. All of them are undergoing testing as health officials investigate how the parts went missing.
“This was an unanticipated problem,” said Dr. Francois Belanger. “We understand that this will be concerning to the patients and we will be working with to explain the situation and offer testing and followup care.”
He said the hospital has since made changes to its weekly safety checks of the washers.