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Kan. colonoscopy patients urged to get blood tests

CHANUTE, Kan. (AP) -- A southeast Kansas hospital is asking 244 patients who received colonoscopies since early January to get tested for communicable diseases because its equipment wasn't properly cleaned and disinfected.

Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center in Chanute says the risk that anyone was infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV is extremely low -- but not zero -- so it is encouraging its colonoscopy patients to get tested for those diseases.

The hospital says the endoscope used for colonoscopies wasn't properly flushed according to the manufacturer's cleaning instructions because a water channel in the device was not being used.

It says the scopes were immersed in a sterilizing agent before being used on each new patient, so the chance that any diseases will be transmitted through the equipment is very low.