The Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that a health-care technician with ties to two Valley hospitals may have exposed patients to hepatitis C.

Technician David Matthew Kwiatkowski, who was investigated for his involvement in a hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire, briefly worked at Arizona Heart Hospital March 22, 2010 to April 2, 2010, and at Maryvale Hospital from March 9, 2009 to June 27, 2009.

“To be clear, we do not know and may never know if this individual was positive for hepatitis C while working in Arizona in 2009 and 2010,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Public Health. “We understand and recognize how this situation may cause concern among patients, which is why, as a precaution, our affected hospitals are making every effort to make sure patients who could have been exposed are notified and offered testing.”

Patients who received care in the cardiac catheterization labs at Maryvale Hospital or at the Arizona Heart Hospital during the times listed above are being contacted by mail to recommend they undergo confidential hepatitis C testing, according to a release from the county’s public health department.

Testing will be offered and available at no charge to these patients at various laboratory locations over the next several weeks. For information, call (602) 674-6844. Patients can also e-mail questions or concerns to PHPIO@mail.maricopa.gov.

Hepatitis C is a virus that is passed through blood and affects the liver. Only about one in five persons who become infected with hepatitis C virus initially becomes ill.

For additional information on hepatitis C, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/index.htm. For local information on this investigation, visit www.azdhs.gov/phs/edc/investigations

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or mreese@evtrib.com

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