Agency Warns Dental Patients of Infection Potential

"Even though the risk of infection from this situation is likely to be low, we don't know the exact risk for each patient at this clinic," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Because infections can spread when good infection control practices are not followed, if you've been a patient at the George M. Davis Clinic, talk with your health care provider to help determine if you should get tested."

Public Health — Seattle & King County is warning patients who received dental services from the George M. Davis Dental Clinic in Burien, Wash., to consider being tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. The George M. Davis Dental Clinic, in operation since 1982, has been closed following an infection control inspection by the Washington State Department of Health - Dental Quality Assurance Commission on Aug. 2, 2018, Public Health reported in its notice.

"The inspection was performed in response to a complaint, and it identified multiple infection control problems, including the cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, and storage of reprocessed instruments. These findings prompted the Dental Quality Assurance Commission to suspend the dental license of George Max Davis," it states.

The notice said Public Health "does not know of any infections associated with this clinic, but inadequately cleaned and sterilized instruments can potentially spread infections to patients during dental procedures. Overall, they believe that the risk of infection is likely to be low for most patients. As a precaution, Public Health advises anyone who was a patient at the George M. Davis Dental Clinic to talk to their health care provider about testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Any patients who might have had procedures such as extractions or procedures requiring shots in the mouth may be at relatively higher risk and should be sure to consult with their health care provider."

"Even though the risk of infection from this situation is likely to be low, we don't know the exact risk for each patient at this clinic," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Because infections can spread when good infection control practices are not followed, if you've been a patient at the George M. Davis Clinic, talk with your health care provider to help determine if you should get tested."

The notice also says neither Public Health nor the Dental Quality Assurance Commission has been able to obtain a patient list from the now-closed clinic for the purposes of contacting patients directly, so Public Health is reaching out through media outlets to alert former clinic patients who may be at risk. Any former patient of the George M. Davis Dental Clinic who does not have access to a health care provider for testing can contact Public Health for help at 206-296-4949.

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    July/August 2019

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