The University of Minnesota halted a blood sugar screening program in St. Paul after learning that patients could have been exposed to disease.
University officials say the same finger prick devices were improperly used on multiple patients at Skyline Towers, a high-rise apartment complex at 1247 St. Anthony Ave.
Medical volunteers for the Skyline Healthcare Awareness Resident Education (SHARE) program were trained to use the same finger prick devices for multiple patients and to change needles and cleaning the device for each new patient, according to the university.
A former student informed the program of the problem, said U of M infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Osterholm.
"Several years ago both the FDA and the CDC made very clear statements that these devices should not be used on multiple patients," Osterholm said. "They should be used on one patient and one patient only and you should have your own device. That information did not translate into this program. It should've and it didn't and the university is taking every step possible to make sure that that never happens again."
The blood screenings began in December 2010 and were stopped on April 19. No screenings were done after the program was informed of the issue.
The university is attempting to test all program participants for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Osterholm said leaders in the complex, where many of the residents are from Somalia, have asked that the program continue under the new guidelines.
In the meantime, the U has contracted with HealthPartners to conduct screenings of everyone in the SHARE program to check for blood diseases.
If you go:
HealthPartners Center for International Health
451 North Dunlap Street
St. Paul, Minn.
Saturday, June 7
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.