- Hepatitis C is a virus which can lead to inflammation of the liver and cause liver disease, and can even lead to cancer of the liver if left untreated
- Most people are oblivious to the fact they are infected because the liver can still operate when damaged and the virus does not produce any obvious symptoms
- Only once the liver becomes seriously damaged and symptoms occur do people visit their GP where it is diagnosed
- The virus is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, and very rarely through sexual intercourse
- Infection is not passed on through social contact, kissing or sharing food or drink
A healthcare worker infected with Hepatitis C is known to have transmitted the virus to two patients.
Now, further patients who may have been treated by them are being contacted and offered advice and blood tests.
The healthcare professional worked at:
- Caerphilly District Miners’ Hospital, between May 1984 and July 2003
- East Glamorgan Hospital, in Pontypridd, between 28 May 1984 and 17 July 1984
- Maelor General Hospital, in Wrexham, between 15 May 1978 and 27 June 1978
North Wales' health board says the healthcare professional infected with Hepatitis C worked briefly at Wrexham Maelor Hospital (known then as the Maelor General Hospital) in May and June 1978.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says the risk of passing on the virus during a healthcare procedure is low, and could only happen if the worker suffered an injury causing them to bleed while treating the patient.
It says it has been reviewing its records, and obstetric and gynaecology patients from that time have been offered advice a blood test as a precautionary measure. Specialist clinic sessions will be held at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Andrew Jones, Director of Public Health for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “I know that this news will cause some concern for patients who were seen in Wrexham at around that time. However I want to stress that the risk of transmission is low."
"Even so, it is important that we contact patients who were treated by this person and offer them support and the opportunity of a blood test. This will allow us to give reassurance that all is well or, if we do identify a person who is carrying the virus, ensure they get advice and treatment."
Thousands of people across the UK are being contacted after a healthcare worker infected two patients with the hepatitis C virus.
A major alert is under way after it was discovered that a retired obstetrics and gynaecology worker unknowingly had the virus while employed by the NHS for decades.
It is known the healthcare worker infected two patients with the virus while working at a hospital in Wales, Public Health England said.