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Inmates pathogens: Arizona state prisoners exposed to viruses

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Arizona inmates may have been exposed to pathogens, according to a Jan. 8 Yahoo News report. Health care company and state officials indicate that as many as 24 Arizona state inmates housed at a state prison west of Phoenix may have exposed to blood-borne pathogens after a nurse violated proper protocols. Few details on the type of pathogens or the improper procedures have been released.

“It was an exposure of blood-borne pathogens due to improper use of an insulin vial on a number of patients,” said Clarisse Tsang, hepatitis prevention coordinator for the state Department of Health Services.

According to ABC 15 Phoenix News, the health care provider employing the nurse who caused the pathogen exposure is Brentwood, Tenn.-based Corizon Health Inc. The company issued a statement that the violation occurred Jan. 5 in three of the seven units at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, adding that the nurse who violated the protocol has been suspended.

Further, Corizon is investigating the incident and providing medical care for inmates who might have been exposed, Susan Morgenstern, spokesperson for Corizon said. Officials met with the inmates on Tuesday to answer their questions and provided preventative medication as a precautionary measure, she said.

In addition, Corizon is now developing a “corrective action plan” to prevent this from happening again. Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, said the department “expects its health care provider, Corizon, to aggressively address any errors that are made in patient care.”

Blood-borne pathogens, viruses that can be transmitted through blood or other bodily fluids, include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, Yahoo News reports.

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