12/01/10 — Officials confirm sixth death of patient

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Officials confirm sixth death of patient

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 1, 2010 1:46 PM

A sixth person with hepatitis, who formerly lived at GlenCare assisted living facility in Mount Olive, has died, the state confirmed Tuesday.

Since August, eight residents at the center have tested positive for hepatitis B, a blood-borne disease that can cause liver problems. When the outbreak was first reported in October, four had died.

A fifth resident, a 71-year-old white man, died Nov. 5 after a nearly two-week hospitalization at Wayne Memorial Hospital. The latest victim was a 64-year-old woman, who had also been hospitalized for other ailments.

"I did get confirmation from one of our epidemiologists that indeed there was another death on Nov. 23," said Julie Henry, public information officer with the N.C. Division of Public Health. "The cause of death is not known but that person had been diagnosed with acute hepatitis B in October when we did the screening."

Both the Division of Public Health and the Division of Health Service Regulation conducted investigations into the outbreak, with separate reports released last month.

According to one of the reports, all eight cases had been hospitalized between Aug. 22 and Oct. 24, although two were hospitalized for reasons unrelated to the hepatitis B infection.

Further, the report broke down the demographics of those diagnosed as being six males and two females, five black and three white, all in the age range of 57 to 84 years old. Illness onset dates ranged from June 20 to Oct. 19.

While one of the common factors among the residents affected was said to have been diabetes, the state could not confirm that to be the case in the latest death.

Ms. Henry said Tuesday that even though the state's investigation has concluded, officials are continuing to monitor residents at the facility.