On Campus

Blood-borne disease scare at UPEI

Students may have been exposed to HIV, Hep B and C, during blood sugar testing

Students at the University of Prince Edward Island are being warned that they may have been exposed to HIV and Hepatitis B and C after using blood sampling equipment in class that wasn’t meant for re-use.

It is the second such incident at a Canadian school in a month. Earlier in June, students at Southeast Collegiate learned that they may have been exposed to these blood-borne diseases after they used the same instrument to measure their blood sugar levels during a lesson on diabetes.

After that incident came to light, a UPEI staff member raised the red flag and said that a biology class at the school had been doing the same thing for the past three years, affecting 300 students, the Toronto Star reports.

From the Star:

The university says 295 students and 8 student assistants/instructors have been identified as participants in this class with approximately half of these students believed to have participated in blood glucose testing.

“They were being taught how to take glucose levels — test for sugar levels, and the device that was used in that class was intended for a single user” but instead of the device being disposed of only the needle was changed, a university spokesperson said.

P.E.I.’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison told the university while the risk of transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C is extremely unlikely, the post secondary institution should “err on the side of caution.”

Morrison added under the circumstances the risk of transmission for Hepatitis B and HIV is estimated to be less than 1 in 1 million people and 5 in 1 million people for Hepatitis C.

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