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More than 1,200 Seattle students are potentially exposed to unsterilized dentistry



SEATTLE – A lack of dental sterilization procedures at school-based health clinics in the Seattle area has resulted in more than 1,200 students potentially exposed to unsterilized equipment.

According to Neighborcare Health, sterilization deficiency was discovered on March 4,

What happened?

The staff reported that some dental care in Neighborcare's portable school-based dental program was disinfected but not completely heat sterilized as required by Neighborcare Health's policy. A handpiece is a tool that holds dental instruments, such as a cage or a polishing jug, and is used during cleaning and filling procedures.

This handpiece sterilization problem only occurred at Neighborcare Health's school-based dental clinics. The incident does not affect patients who are seen in Neighborcare Health's other dental clinics or patients who are seen for medical care at school-based clinics.

Neighbor help cannot determine specific dates or appointments that may have been affected by the clinic sent letters to 1

,250 patients seen at school-based clinics by March 4.

The timeframe for when Vashon Island school-based dental patients were potentially affected was between September 2017 and March 2018.

What is the risk?

During the above timeframe, the handpieces were cleaned with the germicidal disinfectant, CaviCide, which kills pathogens associated with hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, but some handpieces were not subjected to the necessary autoclave / heat sterilization. All other instruments used during dental care were properly sterilized.

Officials in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Neighborcare that there has never been a documented disease transfer from a dental handpiece.

"Based on all of these factors and how handpieces are used, we believe the risk of infection is very low," neighbor assistance said.

How does Neighborcare Health work?

Neighbor help says they have sent message letters to patients who may have been affected by this incident to notify them of possible exposure and to provide information on how to get tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. . This screening is offered at no cost to patients in Immediate Clinic Emergency Centers, which is a third party that Neighborcare Health has agreed to test.

"We are also ready to help follow up patients as needed," neighbor assistance said. "We are sincerely sorry for any distress, this incident may have caused our patients, their families, and our partners. As a healthcare healthcare center deeply committed to our patient's health and the communities we have served for over 50 years, we in order to be transparent in our understanding of what happened, the actual risk of potentially affected patients and how we can ensure that this event will not happen again. "

Schools where neighboring health care provided school-based dental care and patients potentially affected


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