Public Health

Tulsa Dentist Charged with Hep. C Outbreak

First outbreak associated with dental care

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A Tulsa-area dentist accused of using rusty equipment and dirty needles is responsible for the country's first known outbreak of hepatitis C among dental patients, health officials said today.

Dr. W. Scott Harrington's practice was shut down in March 2013 after a surprise inspection revealed major lapses in sterility practices. At least 89 of Harrington's patients have since tested positive for hepatitis C.

"This is the first documented report of patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C virus associated with a dental setting in the United States," state epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley said in a statement. "While dental procedures are generally safe, this reinforces the importance of adhering to strict infection control procedures in dental settings."