NORTH CAROLINA -

North Carolina health officials say human error in computer programing is to blame for last week's massive privacy breach where cards with the personal information of nearly 49,000 children receiving Medicaid benefits were mailed to the wrong addresses.

A statement issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services on Monday said a computer program developed to extract information from a state Medicaid database to generate the mass mailing utilized the incorrect name and addresses for the children's parents or guardians.

The cards include the children's names, Medicaid identification numbers, dates of birth and the names of their primary care doctors. Monday's statement acknowledged for the first time that the error violated federal medical confidentiality laws.

Those who received the mismailed cards are being asked to destroy them.