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China investigating hepatitis C outbreak in south

BEIJING (AP) – China says it is sending medical experts to investigate an outbreak of hepatitis C among more than 200 people in the southern province of Guangdong.

Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua said Monday that mistakes in medical procedures may have caused the infections in the province’s Zijin county. Deng said strengthened preventative measures were ordered at clinics and hospitals in the area to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Hepatitis C is spread primarily through blood and can lead to life-threatening liver damage. Infection can occur through blood transfusions, poorly sterilized equipment or the sharing of intravenous drug needles.

Use of contaminated needles has been blamed in previous outbreaks in China.

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