THIS WEEK IN 1971: ‘Killer’ liver disease found at city hospital

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson

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Medical staff at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, revealed there were four cases of hepatitis B being treated in their infectious diseases ward.

The illness, which can still be life-threatening in adults today had caused the deaths of a number of medical staff at an Edinburgh hospital.

But Dr W O’Driscoll, consultant in infectious diseases, said he did not regard the outbreak as serious and no members of staff were involved.

He also clarified remarks made by Portsmouth Hospital Group secretary K Dryden, who said diseases being treated on the ward included hepatitis and typhoid.

Dr O’Driscoll said: ‘We have one patient who is a typhoid carrier.

‘He is undergoing long-term treatment, but there are no new typhoid cases and there is no question of a typhoid outbreak.’

The confirmation of the four cases of hepatitis B came in the same week it was announced St Mary’s Hospital was to be given £50,000 to improve its facilities for treating infectious diseases.

Mr Dryden said: ‘We are studying plans to upgrade J Ward, an existing block now used for polio cases.’