More than 3,000 patients in New Jersey possibly exposed to HIV, hepatitis

Thousands of patients at a New Jersey ambulatory surgery center were possibly exposed to infections such as HIV and hepatitis, according to the state's Department of Health.

NBC News reports that the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook, N.J., was shut down by the state's health agency after staffers were found to not be practicing proper infection control procedures.

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The violations reportedly occurred between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7 of this year and affected more than 3,000 patients.

Workers "failed to comply with other regulations regarding the dispensing and storage of medication, as well as infection control planning and procedures," HealthPlus Surgery Center said in a statement obtained by NBC News.

"The New Jersey Department of Health’s move to close the facility provided an opportunity to focus more intently on quality, safety and a consistent adherence to sound policies and procedures," the center's statement continued. "As a result, we have made significant improvements to ensure our patients’ safety and good health."

A statement from the state's health department advised the surgery center's patients that the risk of contracted infection from the center remains low, but that those who had procedures done during the months-long period of violations should seek tests for various infections including hepatitis B and C.

"Although the risk of infection is low, out of an abundance of caution, HEALTHPLUS and the New Jersey Department of Health recommend patients get blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV," the agency said.

The center was closed on Sept. 7 and reopened later that month, NBC reported, following retraining of staff under proper infection control procedures.