State investigating nursing home deaths

October 19, 2010 4:24:49 PM PDT
The N.C. Division of Public Health said Tuesday that it has joined the Wayne County Health Department in investigating a cluster of hepatitis B cases at Glen Care of Mt. Olive.

It said five residents of the assisted living facility in Wayne County have tested positive for the hepatitis B virus since late August; four have died.

"We are working with facility staff to ensure that any residents or staff who may have been exposed receive proper care and to prevent any further spread of the virus," said Dr. Jeff Engel, State Health Director, in a media statement.

Engel said Glen Care has begun providing hepatitis testing to all residents of the facility and notification letters have been sent to residents and family members.

Hepatitis B is a blood-borne disease that is typically transmitted by exposure to blood or body fluids.

"Based on our experience in similar settings, we believe the illnesses may be associated with healthcare delivery but are also investigating other possibilities," Engel said.

For more information on hepatitis B symptoms and treatment, go to: http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/gcdc/hbv.html

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