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Wilfrid Laurier University Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management
October 23, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Frequently Asked Questions




How did this happen?

Wilfrid Laurier University offers the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course as part of its Kinesiology and Physical Education program in the Faculty of Science. As part of this course, some students volunteered to have their blood tested to measure blood lactate levels for instructional purposes.

The blood sampler used at the time held a needle that was removed and carefully discarded after each use, and the blood sampler device was also cleaned with alcohol after each individual test. A new needle was used for each test. However, the university has learned that this sampler device was not meant to be used by multiple individuals. Laurierís Health Services Department, in consultation with the Region of Waterloo Public Health, indicate that the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV is extremely low in this scenario.

 
Who might be affected?

Students who volunteered to have their blood-lactate levels tested as part of Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 between September 2002 and December 2011.

There were 1189 students enrolled in the course between Sept. 2002 and Dec. 2011. During this time period, approximately 200 students volunteered to have their blood-lactate levels tested. The university will notify all students registered for the course. 

 
Are there other areas that use the same blood sampler device?

Our review has found no indication that this particular device is being used elsewhere at the university.

 
What is the risk?

Laurierís Health Services Department, in consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health, says the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses in this situation is extremely low. The risk of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are estimated to be as follows:

For Hepatitis B:  6 (six) in 1,000,000 (six in one million) among those vaccinated for Hepatitis B*
For Hepatitis C:  1 (one) in 1,000,000 (one million)
For HIV:  1 (one) in 10,000,000 (ten million)

*The risk is 10-fold greater for those who are unimmunized. Ontario began a school-based immunization program for Grade 7 students in 1994.

There were 1189 students enrolled in the KP322 course between Sept. 2002 and Dec. 2011. During this time period, approximately 200 students volunteered to have their blood-lactate levels tested. The university will notify all students registered for the course. 

 
What steps is the university taking?

We recognize that despite the extremely low risk, this situation is concerning to those involved and we are taking the matter very seriously. The university has records of all students who took the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011 and we are taking steps to contact all students by mail and/or email. We will continue to provide people with updated information. We will also assist those who choose to be tested for blood-borne viruses. This particular blood sampler is no longer being used in the KP322 lab. We are reviewing the circumstances that led to this situation and the universityís policies and procedures associated with such testing.

 
I volunteered as part of the lab. How do I arrange for a test?

I volunteered to have my blood lactate levels tested as part of the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011. How do I arrange for a test?
Only students who had their blood lactate levels tested as part of the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011 should consider testing in consultation with their physician. Students who were contacted would have received a letter either by mail or by email. This letter, along with the special lab requisition form, can be taken to your family doctor or Laurierís Health Services Department (current students and alumni). There is no charge for the test in Canada. If you are living outside of Canada, please email questions@wlu.ca for specific instructions. 

 
I think I was part of that course, but havenít been contacted.

If you were part of the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011, you should receive a letter or an email from the university. If you have not received a letter or email from the university or believe we do not have your current contact information, please contact questions@wlu.ca.

 
My contact info has changed Ė who should I contact?

We contacted people based on the permanent home address information on file in our Office of the Registrar and addresses on file with our Alumni Relations department. If your address has changed, please contact questions@wlu.ca.

 
How will the university make sure this doesnít happen in future?

This particular blood sampler is no longer being used in the KP322 lab. We are reviewing the circumstances that led to this situation and the universityís policies and procedures associated with such testing. The well-being of Laurier students, staff and faculty is our top priority.

 
Should my family members or my partner be tested?

Unless a studentís test results are positive, there is no need for a studentís partner or family member to be tested.

 
I donít remember if I volunteered - should I be tested?

I was part of the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011 but donít remember if I volunteered to have my blood lactate levels tested. Should I still be tested?
If you were a part of the third-year Physiology of Physical Activity KP322 course between September 2002 and December 2011 but donít remember whether you volunteered to have your blood lactate levels tested, we recommend that you discuss the situation with your physician and if you are concerned, testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV can be done. In your package, we have provided you with a letter to take to your physician along with a special lab requisition form for your physician if you choose to be tested. The university does not have a record of those who volunteered.

 
What are the symptoms of these blood-borne viruses?

For links to information on symptoms of the Hepatitis B virus, the Hepatitis C virus and HIV, please view the links to public health information section of this website, www.wlu.ca/KP322info 

 
When will I get the test results? Are they private?

The ordering physician will contact you with your test results, which typically take two-three weeks. If you test positive for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV, your physician and the laboratory need to report the results to your local Public Health Unit, as these diseases are required to be reportable under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. In those cases, the Public Health Department will follow-up with both you and your physician to gather additional information. Individual results will not be shared with the university.

 
Where can I get more information?

For more information, please email questions@wlu.ca. Updated information will also be posted to Laurier's website at www.wlu.ca/KP322info.