Edmonton North Town Medical Centre Patients Urged To Get Tested For Hepatitis

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CORRECTION - July 25, 2016: An Alberta Health Services release said the agency was advising patients to get tested after being treated at the Northtown Medical Clinic. In fact, the name of the facility is North Town Medical Centre.

EDMONTON — Alberta health officials are notifying 270 patients to get tested for hepatitis B and C after being treated at a north Edmonton clinic.

The patients had invasive skin procedures done at the North Town Medical Centre from the fall of 2013 to November 2015.

The clinic does minor procedures such as mole removals and skin biopsies.

Dr. Trevor Theman of the College of Physicians and Surgeons said Monday that staff was not properly trained to clean and sterilize the tools.

"What they weren't doing was ensuring that the sterilizer was meeting the temperatures that were necessary in order to kill any potential pathogens,'' Theman told reporters at a news conference Monday.

Risk of infection is low

He said clinic staff are now using disposable instruments until they can prove proper procedures are in place.

Dr. Joanna Oda, Alberta's medical officer of health, said the risk of infection is low and there are no confirmed illnesses as a result of the sterilization problems.

The clinic opened in September 2013 but the sterilizing equipment was not audited for two years.

Theman said they have pushed the government to notify the college earlier when such clinics open so that they can be inspected sooner.

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