Okla. says hepatitis C was spread at dental clinic

by Justin Juozapavicius

Oklahoma health officials say a dentist's office shut down for unsafe practices last spring is responsible for the first known transmission of hepatitis C from one dental patient to another.

The state epidemiologist said Tuesday that genetic testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that the virus was passed at the Tulsa-area offices of Dr. W. Scott Harrington.

Health officials said the use of unsanitary equipment led to cross-contamination between patients.

But State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley stressed that visits to the dentist remain safe.

Oklahoma in March asked that 7,000 of Harrington's patients be tested for infectious diseases. More than 4,000 patients were tested at state clinics. Only one patient-to-patient contamination was confirmed.

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