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EmpowHer's Health Tip: 85 Hepatitis C Cases Confirmed at Las Vegas Clinics

Health officials have identified at least 85 people treated at two Las Vegas area outpatient clinics over a four year period as having contracted hepatitis C, the Associated Press reported.

The two clinics in question, the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, treated about 50,000 patients over this amount of time, the AP said, and while no official reason for the 85 people getting hepatitis C has been given, the cause may have been because the clinic staff reused syringes and vials of medication while administering anesthesia.

The doctors who ran the clinics, Dipak Desai and Eladio Carrera, have had their medical licenses suspended until Nevada's state Board of Medical Examiners holds hearings, the wire service reported.

Brian Labus, a senior epidemiologist with the Southern Nevada Health District, told the AP that the link between being treated at the clinics and contracting hepatitis C was strong. "We know they [the 85 patients] didn't have a positive test before they went to the clinic, and now they're positive," he said.

State officials are worried that all 50,000 patients who were treated at the clinics between March 2004 and Jan. 11, 2008, may have been exposed to hepatitis C, which can linger in a person's system for years without symptoms. The disease can result in liver failure.