May 29, 2018 12:46 pm
Updated: May 30, 2018 12:16 pm

Lindsay dental clinic patients urged to be tested for hepatitis, HIV

Dental patients at Lakeland Clinic in Lindsay who received treatment from November 2017 to February 2018 are urged to be tested for HIV and hepatitis.

Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Louise Murray
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Health officials are urging patients of a dental clinic in Lindsay to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has notified patients of Lakeland Clinic that they may be at risk for a bloodborne virus. The warning is for patients who received treatment at the Albert Street North clinic between Nov. 10, 2017 and Feb. 21, 2018.

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The health unit issued the warning on Tuesday after investigating the clinic’s infection and prevention practices. The health unit says it found there were times in which “proper sterilization of equipment may not have happened.”

“When sterilization is not done properly, there is a risk that clients may be exposed to other people’s germs on improperly cleaned instruments,” the health unit stated.

The investigation was launched after a person recently diagnosed with Hep C had received treatment at Lakeland Clinic. The health unit says the investigation revealed a potential link to a second person with Hep C who also received treatment at the clinic.

The Health Unit has been working closely with the staff of Lakeland Clinic and proper sterilization practices are now in place.

“The clinic has worked with the Health Unit to correct any identified deficiencies in their sterilization practices and they are now operating at the expected standard of care,” stated Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, the health unit’s Medical Officer of Health.

“As a result, the clinic is permitted to continue its practice.”

On Wednesday, clinic owner Dr. Eric Orpana defended his practice.

Dr. Noseworthy says the risk of contracting a virus is low but patients are urged to be tested since early diagnosis can ensure anyone infected receives treatment and does not unknowingly spread a virus.

READ MORE: Eliminating Hepatitis C in Canada

The health unit cautions many people who become ill with Hep B, Hep C and HIV do not have symptoms.

“We are recommending that people get their blood tested as soon as possible,” Dr. Noseworthy said. “Many people infected with bloodborne viruses may not even know they are ill and may be putting other people at risk.”

The health unit says identified patients have received a letter and requisition to get a blood test. Test results will be provided to the health unit, which will then notify patients of their results one to two weeks after the blood tests have been completed.

More information is available on the Health Unit’s website at www.hkpr.on.ca or by calling 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1006.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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