October 24, 2013
HIV Transmission Inconclusive in Oklahoma Dental Patients
The Oklahoma State Health Department has definitively linked one patient-to-patient transmission of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and could not link three transmissions of HIV in the practice of Tulsa oral surgeon Wayne Scott Harrington, DMD, reports KJRH News. More than 4,000 local patients were tested earlier this year after two of the dentist’s clinics failed surprise safety inspections for exposing patients to numerous health risks, including rusty instruments. Ninety patients tested positive for hep C, six for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and four for HIV. Genetic analyses by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tried to determine how many of those results were actually linked to Harrington’s practice. One test was conclusive for hep C. Specimens from three of the four patients who tested HIV positive were tested, but were inconclusive. This is the first documented patient-to-patient hep C transmission associated with a dental setting in the United States, according to the CDC.
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