N.H. officials: Needle-swapping employee may have caused outbreak
20 N.H. patients infected, likely from tainted syringes
After weeks of investigation, New Hampshire health officials now suspect a drug-abusing hospital employee spread hepatitis C to patients at Exeter Hospital by swapping sterile needles with contaminated ones. So far, 20 people have tested positive for the same strain of the harmful virus - including a hospital employee. Investigators believe that an infected worker pilfered sterile syringes containing drugs intended for patients, then replaced them with used syringes filled with water or saline to conceal the theft.