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Possible risk of infections from dental clinic in Burien

Summary

Patients who received dental services from the George M. Davis Dental Clinic in Burien, WA should consider being tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. The George M. Davis Dental Clinic has been closed following an inspection that found multiple infection control problems.

Story

Public Health — Seattle & King County (Public Health) advises patients who received dental services from the George M. Davis Dental Clinic in Burien, WA 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 (DQAC) on August 2, 2018. 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.

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 healthcare provider to help determine if you should get tested."

Any patients from this clinic who have been experiencing symptoms of hepatitis or HIV should make sure to get tested. Symptoms of hepatitis include abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice (skin and eyes turn yellow), and fatigue (feeling unusually tired) that persists for weeks or months. Some people with hepatitis have mild or no symptoms. Symptoms of HIV can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and flu-like illness. Symptoms may not appear until well after the exposure.

Neither Public Health nor the Dental Quality Assurance Commission have been able to obtain a patient list from the now closed George M. Davis Dental Clinic for the purposes of contacting patients directly. Therefore, 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 healthcare provider for testing can contact Public Health for help at 206-296-4949.

About Public Health's role in infection control

Proper infection control practices prevent the spread of infections in settings where healthcare is provided. Investigation of possible exposures to infectious diseases is part of the core work of Public Health – Seattle & King County. In this incident, Public Health's role is to determine severity and extent of possible infection risks, notify the public about significant risks and recommended actions, and take steps to eliminate ongoing risks to the public. Washington State Department of Health's Dental Quality Assurance Commission and Health Systems Quality Assurance programs respond to consumer complaints, conduct investigations, and regulate the competency and quality of health care providers.