August 6, 2008

Hospital: 2 Staffers Found With Mild Virus

A New York State hospital has told nearly 500 patients they may have been exposed to parvovirus, which causes a usually harmless infection.

Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island said that a medical resident and a nurse have been diagnosed with fifth disease, which is caused by parvovirus, Newsday reported.

Fifth disease got its name because it was the fifth of common childhood infections that cause a rash. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as a "mild illness that resolves on its own among children and adults who are otherwise healthy."

Dr. William Greene, head of quality control, told Newsday that the hospital is trying to be "cautious and proactive." He said that 480 letters were sent to patients who had been in labor and delivery between late June and late July.

The hospital has set up a hotline where those who receive the letter can discuss the disease with a nurse or doctor.