Hepatitis cases unrelated to dirty clinic, OPH says

None of the hundreds of patients who've undergone testing after being potentially exposed to dirty medical equipment at a Stittsville clinic was infected there, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) believes.

Hundreds of patients of Stittsville clinic so far tested for infection

The Main Street Family Medical Centre failed a health inspection in April, but has since been cleared by Ottawa Public Health to resume minor surgical procedures. (CBC News)

None of the hundreds of patients who've undergone testing after being potentially exposed to dirty medical equipment at a Stittsville clinic was infected there, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) believes.

Test results have come in for about 1,640 patients, representing 36 per cent of the 4,600 people who potentially came into contact with improperly cleaned medical equipment at the Main Street Family Medical Centre at 1251 Stittsville Main St.

Among them, one is currently infected with hepatitis B and four previously had hepatitis B, OPH project management officer Donna Casey wrote in an emailed statement.

Another five tested "reactive" on the initial antibody test for hepatitis C, and are now getting further tests to see if they still have the infection, or if they cleared it either on their own or through treatment.

So far — based on initial diagnosis dates, clinic procedure dates and other risk factors — there is no evidence these cases of hepatitis B or C were due to the infection prevention and control lapse at the clinic.

The investigation is ongoing and more detailed lab results are expected, Casey wrote.

The clinic, located in Brown's Independent Grocer, was investigated by Ottawa Public Health for not having properly cleaned or disinfected reusable equipment, including needle drivers, forceps and tweezers. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Complaint made in April

OPH launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from a member of the public in late April about a general lack of cleanliness at the clinic.

All surgical procedures were stopped the day after OPH received the complaint, officials said.

No infections have been reported in connection with equipment at the walk-in clinic, which is located on the second floor of Brown's Your Independent Grocer.

Approximately 4,600 people who underwent a minor surgical procedure at this clinic between its opening in December 2003 and April 25, 2018, may have been exposed to the improperly cleaned equipment, officials said.

Ottawa Public Health said the 4,600 people represents about five per cent of the approximately 90,000 people who have been treated at the clinic.

The clinic was earlier given the go-ahead to resume performing minor surgeries, since it has passed subsequent inspections. It cannot give people stitches.