Monday, September 6, 2010
The Behind-The-Scenes Story of the Hepatitis C Outbreak in Nevada
NevBio's July 23rd meeting featured Tom Lorentzen, the former Regional Director of Health & Human Services. Mr. Lorentzen flew to Las Vegas to monitor the hepatitis outbreak for Secretary Leavitt of Health & Human Services. Lorentzen praised the Clark County Public Health Department for identifying that a problem existed in Las Vegas. The department's data normally showed two or three cases a month. All of sudden, the department noticed six reported cases. The department took quick action to find the cause of the outbreak. They sent out health inspectors to locate the problem. One noticed that vials were being reused at the Endoscopy clinic. Working with the city of Las Vegas, they closed the clinic. Although the hepatitis C outbreak gave Las Vegas a black eye for its health care, it was the leadership in the community that averted a much wider problem. A number of biotech companies are searching for cures for hepatitis C.