Twelve patients at a German hospital have so far been found to have hepatitis C after undergoing surgery involving an anaesthetist, who is infected with the disease.
The practitioner, who no longer works at the Donau-Ries Clinic in the southern German town of Donauwoerth, infected the individuals during surgery, a local health authority said on Monday.
Prosecutors have opened investigations against the anaesthetist, who is said to be addicted to medication, according to the health body.Given that hepatitis C is normally transmitted through blood contact, it is unclear how patients became infected.
Several hundreds of the clinic’s former patients have been called to get tested for the disease.
Hepatitis C is usually symptomless, or can cause flu-like symptoms. It can become chronic, causing tiredness or upper abdominal discomfort.
It can also lead to cirrhosis, which increases the risk of cancer,” experts say.