MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota is looking for 300 people who may have been exposed to infectious diseases owing to misuse of blood monitoring equipment at screening events.
School officials said the people they’re seeking either live or lived in the Skyline high-rise in St. Paul.
The university said they’ve discovered that medical students reused finger-prick devices while administering blood-sugar screenings at the complex. Dr. Michael Osterholm said volunteers were reusing the devices on multiple patients even though they were designed for repeated use only by the same patient.
“They were changing the lancet or the sharp part of it, and it’s a remote possibility there could have been blood inside of that,” Osterholm said while speaking with Dave Lee on WCCO Radio.
The students have been doing these tests since 2010 as part of the SHARE outreach program.
“They started offering free screening for blood sugars, looking for diabetes. But in the process they were reusing a lancing device which basically draws the blood out of the individuals’ finger,” Osterholm said.
The program has now been suspended in order for students to be retrained.
Osterholm said chances of spreading a disease through the devices are low, but the school wants to make sure no one contracted a disease.
“It’s not at all a situation of panic or fear,” he said.