Source of North Carolina hepatitis B outbreak revealed

Officials with the North Carolina Division of Public Health confirmed on November 12 that investigators believe the improper use of blood glucose level testers are most likely behind the cause of a hepatitis B outbreak at a Mount Olive, North Carolina, nursing home.

Five of the eight patients that contracted the disease have died from it, according to

State investigators say that during interviews with Glen Care of Mount Olive Assisted Living employees, one admitted that the same blood testing needles were shared between patients at the facility.

"The medication tech we interviewed indicated that glucometers and adjustable lancing devices were not routinely cleaned and disinfected between uses," the report said, according to

In a statement released on November 11, George Kornegay, president of Kornegay Healthcare, the owners of the center, said that the facility is not admitting or acknowledging that it caused the patients’ deaths, reports.

Kornegay claims that an internal investigation has not found an employee who said the needles were shared, reports, and also claims that the patients saw many other doctors during the time of the infections. Registered nurses are, according to Kornegay, now being used to make sure that sterile equipment is being used following proper procedures.

The official investigation has not revealed how the hepatitis B supposedly first entered the facility. They believe it was possible that it came from a patient who was a chronic carrier who died or was discharged before the investigation started.

The official report recommends that all Glen Care patients who have been in the facility since January 1 be tested for hepatitis.