Two administrators at a hospital in Dongtai, Jiangsu province, have been removed from their posts after 69 patients were infected with the hepatitis C virus.
A dialysis unit at Dongtai People’s Hospital was determined to be responsible for the contamination, the city’s information office said in a statement on Monday.
An initial investigation by an expert panel of specialists from the National Health Commission and provincial and city health authorities said that lax management at the hospital was to blame for the infections.
“The hospital’s infection management system had not been properly used, causing the infections,” the statement said.
The two administrators, the hospital’s president and deputy president, were removed from their posts. Another 14 officials held accountable in the incident, including local health officials, will also face punishment, it said.
All infected patients are receiving treatment and are in stable condition. The hospital was ordered to rectify problems and Dongtai is conducting a citywide inspection to eliminate the risk of further infection, the statement said.
A similar incident occurred at a hospital in Shaanxi province in 2016 in which 26 patients contracted hepatitis C during dialysis treatment due to malpractice, China News Service reported.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that primarily affects the liver. During the initial infection, people often have mild or no symptoms. Over several years, victims can develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
A professor at Beijing Friendship Hospital, who asked to remain anonymous, said the hepatitis C virus is blood-borne and the most common manner of infection is through exposure to small quantities of tainted blood.
Hospitals must take precautions to ensure that injection equipment is sterile, strictly screen donated blood for hepatitis B and C, and properly train health personnel, he said.
Cang Wei contributed to this story.