Patients Test Positive in Ongoing Dentist Investigation
Health officials announced more than 60 patients have tested positive for hepatitis and HIV since their investigation into a local dentist's practice began last month.
Both the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Tulsa Health Department released the numbers just after noon Thursday. But it has not yet been determined whether the patients tested contracted the diseases from Scott Harrington's practices.
According to the release, the ongoing investigation has so far identified 57 individuals who tested positive for Hepatitis C and three for Hepatitis B. Positive results were reported for HIV, "but OSDH Data Security Police regarding HIV disclosure prohibits public reporting of numbers less than 3."
Since the investigation was revealed back on March 28, public health officials advised current and former patients of Harrington that they may have been exposed to blood-born viruses at his practices. Patients were advised to get blood drawn for free at clinics established in and outside of Tulsa.
"We understand these first reported test results may be of concern," THD Director Bruce Dart said. "Thorough investigations are routinely conducted upon notification of a positive report for these infections. This response will be handled in the same manner, as disease investigation is a core public health service and staff are well trained to conduct this type of response."
The OSDH and THD have begun notifying persons who participated in the screening of their test results. Those persons whose tests are positive are being personally contacted and counseled about information specific to the disease for which the test was positive, and they will be directed to resources for appropriate care and follow up. If warranted, testing will be recommended for a spouse or partner.
"This is a complex investigation," state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said. "The next phase will include more in-depth interviews of persons who test positive to determine the likelihood that their exposure is associated with their dental surgical procedure at the Harrington practice. We will certainly continue to keep the public informed as we learn more."
If you have not been tested, screening continues weekdays at the North Regional Health and Wellness Center, 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Patients are advised to call the North Regional Health and Wellness Center directly at -918-595-4380 to schedule an appointment.