Alberta Health Services is notifying people about a possible exposure to hepatitis B at a midwife clinic in Calgary. They are urging some patients to get tested.
The notice released by Alberta Health Services said that the potential exposure was at the now-closed Calgary Midwives Collective (CMC) and that it stemmed from "improperly sterilized medical equipment."
Patients who received prenatal, delivery or post-natal care services at the Bridgeland-based clinic between 2013 and March 2022 should contact their doctor for a test, in order to identify whether they have hepatitis B.
However, AHS believes the risk to clients is "very low."
The sterilization breach was found during a site inspection prompted by a public masking complaint and resulted in a "lack of confidence that proper sterilization of medical equipment was being attained," AHS said.
The clinic was ordered to close on March 31, 2022, but after educating the clinic owner on proper sterilization practices and the implementation of single-use disposable medical devices, the closure order was lifted. The clinic closed voluntarily shortly after.
The closure of the clinic means there is no ongoing risk to the public, AHS added.
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that infects the liver. Most people are able to clear it on their own, but if left untreated it can later develop into serious health problems, according to the Government of Canada website.
While many people generally exhibit few to no symptoms, acute hepatitis B can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and dark urine. Some people may develop jaundice.
Dr. Francesco Rizzuti, Medical Officer of Health, Calgary Zone for AHS said medical equipment must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized to specific health standards in order to prevent the spread of infection.
“As the CMC did not fully adhere to these sterilization processes, individuals who received services through this operation may have been exposed to hepatitis B," Rizzuti added.
AHS said it is working with the College of Midwives of Alberta (CMA) to ensure there is a thorough review.
In a statement, CMA said it is investigating the clinic after a complaint was lodged as any exposures or risk of hepatitis B is a "serious concern."
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.