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Public Health Response – Situation Update 21

TULSA, OK – [June 27, 2013] – Tomorrow is the final day for former patients of W. Scott Harrington’s dental surgical practice to receive free testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection, the Tulsa Health Department and Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today. Although free screening clinics will conclude tomorrow, the epidemiological investigation continues.

On March 28, public health officials advised they were notifying current and former patients of the practice that they may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses at Harrington’s Tulsa and Owasso offices. Health officials recommended these patients have their blood drawn for testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection at free screening clinics established at the Tulsa Health Department, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and other county health departments in the state.

To date, 3,991 people have visited county health departments throughout the state to have their blood drawn for testing. An unknown number of persons have sought testing through their private health care provider. The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory has completed testing for 4,087 persons as of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.  The discrepancy is due to the lab also testing people from other states, private physicians and local county health departments.

Today the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Tulsa Health Department report one additional HIV positive result and three additional hepatitis C positive results since the last situation update.  Therefore, 77 patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B and four for HIV.

Those persons whose tests are positive are being personally contacted and counseled about information specific to the disease for which the test was positive, and they will be directed to resources for appropriate care and follow up. If warranted, testing will be recommended for a spouse or partner. Patients with negative test results who had dental procedures in the Harrington clinic between Sept. 20, 2012, and March 20, 2013, have been advised to return for follow-up testing at least six months past the last dental clinic date at the Harrington practice. Those patients will still receive follow-up testing at no cost. Screenings will be provided Monday-Thursdays by appointment only.

This is the last weekly situation update issued by the Tulsa Health Department and Oklahoma State Department of Health regarding this investigation. Subsequent media releases related to the public health response to the infection control practices of the Dr. W. Scott Harrington dental surgical practice will be issued as needed and at the conclusion of the epidemiological investigation.

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