Infection control problems during assisted monitoring of blood glucose at an assisted living facility in North Carolina resulted in an outbreak of hepatitis B virus infections. Among the 40 facility residents who were susceptible to infection from hepatitis B virus, eight residents developed acute infections, and six of those died from hepatitis complications. All eight infections were among the 15 residents who received assisted monitoring of blood glucose monitoring from facility staff; there were no infections among the 25 residents who did not receive assisted monitoring of blood glucose. Through interviews with the family member of a deceased facility resident, the reporter who published news accounts of the outbreak, the legislator who spearheaded the development of new regulations, and an epidemiologist at CDC who is a subject matter expert, this documentary aims to illustrate the impact of this outbreak and why the policy changes adopted in North Carolina should be emulated elsewhere.
Thomas John Bender, MD, PhD, is a physician currently training in Duke’s residency program in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. During 2009-2011, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer for the CDC, and his experience investigating a similar outbreak in Virginia sparked his interest in this topic.