The Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar has been a hotbed for Hepatitis and HIV — with at least 135 people possibly being exposed to the diseases over an eight year span — thanks to dirty medical equipment, a report says.
From April 2008 to April 2016, medical personnel at the vital US military outpost failed to properly clean the endoscopes they used for upper and lower gastrointestinal procedures, according to the Air Force Times.
A spokesperson for the branch’s Surgeon General announced the findings on Monday and said it would be reaching out to all of the patients that visited the facility during that time period.
The Al Udeid Air Base is home to roughly 11,000 troops from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines. It is located 20 miles southwest of the Qatari capital of Doha and is considered the largest US military base in the Middle East.
While the surgeon general’s spokesperson claimed the risk of infection was “very small,” the Air Force has chosen to issue a service-wide patient safety alert to make sure all other facilities were following the proper cleaning procedures and decontaminating processes.
Specifically, they want to ensure that everyone is properly sterilizing the endoscopes, or any other medical instruments and devices that need to be reused.
At least 135 people were believed to have been exposed to HIV and Hepatitis B and C as a result of the dirty equipment — which was “cleaned in a manner inconsistent with sterilization guidelines,” according to the surgeon general.
The Air Force Medical Service was said to be providing contact information for healthcare resolution specialists, medical counseling and testing.
The clinic at Al Udeid has since stopped performing endoscopies or colonoscopies, the Times reports.
“Providing quality health care to our airmen and their families is our top priority,” Brig. Gen. Robert Miller, commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, said in a press release.
“We apologize to our…