State health officials said patients of a dental practice in Pennsylvania should be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses after an investigation discovered that the practice failed to follow appropriate infection control procedures.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), the state board of dentistry has suspended the licenses of three dentists from the Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry in Reading “on the grounds that their continued practice may be an immediate and clear danger to the public health and safety.”
The DOH recommended that patients who were seen at the practice between Dec. 19, 2015, and Oct. 19 of this year be tested.
“We haven’t had any reports of any infected patients from this clinic,” DOH press secretary April Hutcheson told Infectious Disease News. “We are recommending [testing] out of an abundance of caution.”
According to the DOH, a joint investigation with the Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) found that the dental practice “did not follow appropriate procedures to properly clean, disinfect, or sterilize devices.” Hutcheson said the investigation was launched after someone filed a complaint with the DOS.
She said the devices in question included autoclaves and other equipment used in the practice’s operatories.
“There was improper sanitation of the equipment being used to treat patients,” Hutcheson said.
Following an investigation, the DOH sent a cease and desist letter to the practice on Oct. 21, and officials suspended the dentists’ licenses on Nov. 4. They must apply to the state board of dentistry to have them reinstated, Hutcheson said.
She said the DOH’s cease and desist order will remain in place until the practice follows certain infection control recommendations made by the department.
“They have to actually fix the issues before we would lift that order,” she said. – by Gerard Gallagher
Disclosures: Hutcheson works for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.