Public Health

HIV Tests Urged for Thousands of Oklahoma Dental Patients

Instruments were not being properly cleaned

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Health officials said Thursday that thousands of patients of an Oklahoma dentist should undergo testing for HIV and hepatitis after officials investigating the source of a patient's disease discovered instruments weren't being cleaned properly.

The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry said Thursday that state and county health inspectors inspected Dr. W. Scott Harrington's practice after a patient with no other known risk factors tested positive for hepatitis C and the virus that causes Aids. At Harrington's clinics, they found multiple sterilization issues, including cross-contamination of instruments and the use of a separate, rusty, set of instruments for patients who were known to carry infectious diseases.

Harrington, an oral surgeon, voluntarily closed his practices in Tulsa and suburban Owasso and is cooperating with investigators, said Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department. He faces a hearing April 19 and could lose his license.

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