(CNN) — Nearly 450 patients at a hospital in Massachusetts could have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV due to improper administration of IV medication within the past two years, according to hospital officials.
The possible exposure at Salem Hospital affected patients who were seeking an endoscopy, a type of procedure where a doctor inserts a tubelike instrument into the body for examination, the hospital said in a statement Thursday. The hospital did not provide further details about how the possible exposure may have occurred.
Salem Hospital has notified all patients who may have been exposed and tested people for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, which are “standard tests for a potential exposure of this kind,” a hospital spokesperson told CNN in an email.
“There is no evidence to date of any infections resulting from this incident,” the hospital said in the statement. “We have determined that the infection risk to patients from this event is extremely small. … We sincerely apologize to those who have been impacted.”
The hospital learned of the potential exposure earlier this year and has provided free screenings and set up a clinician-staffed hotline to answer questions.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is aware of the potential exposure and also concluded the risk of possible of infection to be very low, the department said in a statement to CNN.
The hospital worked with the state public health department “to manage the situation.”
“The ongoing investigation has not identified evidence of infections resulting from these exposures to date,” the department said.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus and can spread by sharing needles, syringes and other injection equipment or sexual contact.
In 2018, more than 3,000 patients at a surgery center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, faced the risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. A New Jersey Department of Health investigation found employees at the HealthPlus Surgery Center were not following sterilization procedures, and medical instruments were not being cleaned properly.
And in 2008, an outbreak of acute hepatitis C was linked to an endoscopy center in Las Vegas, according to a report from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. An investigation found unsafe injection practices placed patients at risk for exposure.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.
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