The New Hampshire Department of Health announced Monday that, so far, 27 people had contracted the disease while in the cardiac catheterization lab. Of the 27 cases, one was a hospital employee. An additional 12 people tested positive for the hepatitis C virus but had a strain different from the one tied to the outbreak.
Foster’s Daily Democrat reported that 59 patients had filed suit against the hospital — 47 in a class action and another 12 individually.
Cases were first reported in May, and in June, state health officials said the outbreak was most likely the result of drug diversion by a hospital employee. Drug diversion, the misuse of prescription drugs for nonmedicinal purposes, has become a major problem among health care workers, who may use narcotics prescribed for patients and then pass on diseases through contaminated syringes. State officials are still investigating whether the employee was the source of the outbreak.