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N.J. surgery center warns of possible exposure to bloodborne infections

A surgery center informed more than 3,000 patients they may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens after undergoing procedures at a New Jersey location.

The HealthPlus Surgery Center sent a letter warning patients who underwent procedures at its ambulatory in Saddle Brook, N.J., between January and September 2018 that they may have been exposed to diseases transmitted through blood such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

"An investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health revealed that during this time period, lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens," the letter stated.

The New Jersey Health Department said no infections were traced to the lapse in procedures and all of the affected patients were notified.

"Although the risk of infection is low, out of an abundance of caution, HealthPlus and the New Jersey Department of Health recommend patients get blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV," Janelle Fleming, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health, told CNN.

Hepatitis B and C infections can emerge between two and six weeks after exposure and an infected person may not experience symptoms.

HealthPlus encouraged affected patients to get tested for blood infections "even if you do not remember feeling sick" and that the center would pay for all medical costs associated with testing.

"All of us at HealthPlus understand this may be upsetting," the letter stated

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