Hepatitis may be linked to medical technician

LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities said a technician at a medical clinic in southern North Carolina may have caused seven patients to become infected with hepatitis C.

State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin said Tuesday state officials are contacting 1,200 patients who underwent cardiac stress tests within the last 14 months at Scotland Cardiology in Laurinburg. Health officials are recommending patients be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the HIV virus.

Devlin said officials determined the cases may be linked to the only technician conducting the test, which involves injecting a dye into a patient's vein. She said the investigation is ongoing.

The clinic is run by Laurinburg's mayor, Dr. Matthew Block, who is being investigated by the state Medical Board on allegations he issued more than 100 prescriptions to a family member.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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