- Public health officials are urging northern Ontario residents to get tested for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV after two people tested positive for Hepatitis C. One of the two infected patients is a child. The two confirmed cases are reportedly the result of improperly cleaned and sterilized equipment at a dental clinic in Orillia, Ontario.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that attacks the liver. The infection spreads when blood contaminated with the virus enters the bloodstream of an uninfected person.
Hepatitis C is a silent infection. It's common not to feel a single symptom for years, only when the damage has already been done, which is why getting tested is absolutely crucial.
The clinic is called Wyandotte Medical And Dental, previously Joe Philip and Associates. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says that patients who were treated at this clinic at any time between January 1st 2012 and December 18th 2017 should be tested for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV immediately.
They say that medical and dental tools that aren't cleaned, sterilized and disinfected properly could spread infectious viruses like these to patients.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of acute Hepatitis C appear one to three months after being infected, and can last anywhere from two weeks to three months. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Bleeding easily
- Bruising easily
- Poor appetite
- Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Fluid buildup in your abdomen (ascites)
- Swelling in your legs
- Weight loss
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech
- Spider-like blood vessels on your skin
Dr. Colin Lee, an associate medical officer of health in the Orillia area tells Simcoe.com, "We don’t know for sure where they contracted hepatitis C. There are many situations where one can contract hepatitis C."
The investigation remains ongoing, and more news updates are expected to follow.