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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE
PRESS RELEASE
05/20/2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: (301) 443-3593, newsroom@ihs.gov

New Mexico Health Fair Participants Urged to Seek Additional Testing

Participants who had their blood tested at an April 24 health fair at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM, are being strongly advised to have additional blood testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV because of possible blood contamination during the health fair testing. Members of the general public who did not attend the health fair are not considered at risk.

Students from the University of New Mexico Physician Assistant program administered the blood test for high blood sugar, which is an indicator of diabetes. Approximately 50 individuals received the free tests on April 24, according to the university. The device used to prick the finger to get the blood sample required for testing was meant for single patient use and not for multiple patients. Although the risk is believed to be small, those who volunteered for testing that day may have been put at risk of contracting infections due to potential exposure to diseases spread by blood contact.

Once this incident was identified, the University of New Mexico requested immediate assistance from the Indian Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the New Mexico Department of Public Health to initiate a detailed investigation. The Indian Health Service had no involvement in the health fair or the testing. Patient safety and public health is a top priority of all parties involved in this investigation. As such, we are working as quickly as possible to identify individuals who received the blood glucose testing.

Individuals can also contact their health care providers directly to arrange for testing. The university also has established a Compliance Hotline at 1-800-899-6092 for patients to call and leave a message. A registered nurse will return all calls and send information packets, including details for the patient’s health care providers. Further information is available through the University of New Mexico School of Medicine website at http://contact.health.unm.edu/.