Patients possibly exposed to Hepatitis B virus at Fairview Hospital

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Clinic officials are in the process of contacting 13 dialysis patients at Fairview Hospital that may have been exposed to the Hepatitis B virus.

The Fox 8 I-Team learned about the potential exposure and went to the clinic for answers.

Hospital officials say the potential exposure to the Hepatitis B virus happened last month at Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital.

Clinic officials believe the risk of exposure is low, but they wanted to make sure the patients were informed as soon as possible.

The I-Team obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to 13 patients, earlier this week:

“We have learned that you may have been exposed to the Hepatitis B virus,” the letter states. “We believe the risk of exposure is low because each dialysis machine was cleaned and disinfected per manufacturer recommendations and the nurses verified that the machine circuit integrity was intact at the time of your treatment.  However, the additional step of cycling bleach through the machine after use by a patient with Hepatitis B was not completed.”

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus.

Cuyahoga County Board officials say getting the test done is an important first step.

“Following the lab test it would be used to decide if further action is needed,” said Cindy Modie, a supervisor at the board of health.

Fairview Hospital officials released the following statement to the I-Team Thursday.

“We are taking all precautionary steps to ensure the 13 patients involved in this isolated matter receive the appropriate testing and follow-up care, if needed.  At this time, it is undetermined whether there was any exposure to them.  In addition, we are conducting a full review of our protocols."