Up to 30 people possibly exposed to a used needle at Toronto health fair

According to a doctor needles were not consistently changed between clients

Up to 30 people may have been exposed to a used needle during blood sugar tests conducted at a community event in Toronto last month, the city’s public health authority said Monday as it urged those affected to see a doctor as a precaution.

Needles were “not consistently changed between clients” during the free tests at the March 25 health fair organized by the Vision Infinite Foundation, a Bangladeshi-Canadian community group, said Dr. Herveen Sachdeva, an associate medical officer with Toronto Public Health.

RELATED: B.C. father starts petition after son jabbed by needle he found outside

There is a very low chance of blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis B and C and HIV, being transmitted by re-using a lancet — a fine needle typically used to prick the skin and take small amounts of blood — but Toronto Public Health has called and written to everyone who had their glucose levels checked at the fair, recommending they get blood tests as a precaution, Sachdeva said.

“Toronto Public Health will receive the results of those who present for follow up with this testing … and this will help us understand whether any illness may have been associated with this event although the risk is very low,” she added.

A woman who attended the fair held at a community centre in Toronto’s east end told organizers during the event that she had seen testers re-use a lancet, Vision Infinite director Shahid Khandker said.

Organizers immediately shut down the testing station, which was run by pharmacy staff from a nearby Shoppers Drug Mart, and called paramedics who in turn notified Toronto Public Health, he added.

“For the future, whether the pharmacy is given the opportunity (to participate again) or not, there are going to be more precautionary measures for sure,” Khandker said of including blood tests at other Vision Infinite events.

Pharmacist Ahmad Abdullah, who said a member of his staff was administering blood sugar tests at the fair when the complaint was made, said it is “extremely disturbing” to know a lancet may have been re-used.

“This kind of thing shouldn’t happen but unfortunately, when there are lots of people there, maybe staff just missed it by chance,” he added.

RELATED: Spring melt uncovers dirty needles in Vernon

Abdullah said he provided Toronto Public Health with a list of everyone who had their blood tested, so authorities could contact them.

Any pharmacy staff member can perform blood tests as long as they have been trained and are supervised by a pharmacist, Abdullah said.

Sachdeva said Toronto Public Health is “looking into what training and qualifications are required” to perform blood sugar tests.

“We will continue to follow up accordingly with the staff from the health fair,” she said. ”Toronto Public Health staff continue to investigate the matter and the event organizers have been co-operative.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dust advisory from Smithers to Burns Lake

Smithers, Houston and Burns Lake dusty enough to warrant an air quality advisory.

SD54’s new superintendent talks opportunities

‘I decided I wanted to teach as a way to give back’ says Bulkley Valley’s new top school administrator

Leaving a legacy at Lakes District Festival of the Performing Arts

Performance results from Legacy Music Studio and Wolfgang Loschberger’s Music Studio Vienna.

Striking the right chord

Smithers’ Broadway Music Studio students collect ribbons at Lakes District Music Festival.

Aussies buy majority stake in Red Chris mine

Company looks forward to relationship with Tahltan Nation

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read