A Hepatitis C virus outbreak happened at a renal ward in Singapore General Hospital with 22 patients infected and among them, 8 dead, possibly from the infection. All 22 patients were staying at the newly-renovated Ward 67 between April and June this year. The news have been covered up until an official press release made by SGH today (Oct 6).
Among the 8 dead, 4 had “multiple co-morbidities and severe sepsis” with Hepatitis C infection possibly being the cause. The other 3 deaths, according to SGH, has been “thoroughly evaluated and no link to Hepatitis C virus infection has been established”. The last death is still “pending review”.
The youngest infected is a 24 year old, while the rest are between 50 and 60 years old. All names and profiles have been censored by the Singapore government.
According to the SGH press conference, the hospital discovered an increasing frequency of Hepatitis C infection in a renal ward only in early June. Only after a liver function test did the hospital found out that 22 were infected with the virus. The possible cause of the virus might be a multi-dose vials which typically contain insulin or vaccine.
SGH has since stopped multi-dosing even though according to SGH themselves, it is “a long established and accepted practices in healthcare institution”.
The chairman of SGH Medical Board, Fong Kok Young, said that there is no conclusive evidence and the investigation is still ongoing. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that he is disappointed with the SGH and how to extend support for patients and their family members.
There is no mention of compensation for the dead or the infected. The incident happened in June, but the Singapore government chose only to release this news in October, possibly because of the election in September.