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

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: Care-A-Van offers more than just care in a van

Mobile clinic brings medical and social services to the Valley’s most vulnerable

Comox Valley Regional District seeking input on development of Tsolum River Agricultural Watershed Plan

This fall, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is inviting the community… Continue reading

Lane closure in Courtenay at Lewis Centre

The City of Courtenay will be working on the water distribution system… Continue reading

Comox Valley’s Rainbow Youth Theatre hosting 30th birthday party

Join Rainbow Youth Theatre for a 30th anniversary celebration at the Sid… Continue reading

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Courtenay’s Dingwall Road to be temporarily closed for construction

Next week, the intersection of Dingwall Road and McQuillan Road will be… Continue reading

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Most Read