More than 3,000 patients at New Jersey surgery center possibly exposed to HIV, hepatitis

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt

An ambulatory surgery center in New Jersey may have exposed thousands of patients to HIV and hepatitis due to “lapses in infection control” and sterilization, the state’s department of health said Monday.

More than 3,700 patients who had procedures at HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, may have been exposed to blood-borne illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, according to a statement from the center.

The patients at risk were treated at the surgery center between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7, 2018.

The discovery came after an investigation of the surgery center by state department of health, though it was not immediately clear what prompted the investigation.

The department found that members of HealthPlus’ staff were not following proper sterilization procedures “and failed to comply with other regulations regarding the dispensing and storage of medication, as well as infection control planning and procedures,” according to a HealthPlus Surgery Center statement.

Currently, there have been no reports of infection or illness, according to the surgery center and the health department.