Missing Step in Sterilization Causes Possible Disease Exposure

A Multnomah County dental clinic says up to 18 instrument packets were improperly sterilized last month and may have exposed patients to HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.

Up to 18 of the 524 patients treated at Southeast Dental Clinic in the 2600 block of Southeast 34th Avenue between May 11 and May 24 may have been exposed, the Multnomah County Health Department said.

Len Barozzini, the clinic’s dental director, said the risk of exposure is minimal, but clinic staff want to “do everything we can to inform our patients fully and assure their care.”

The possible contamination was discovered June 5 by a health department manager running an internal infection control check, according to health officials. The manager discovered a missing step in the sterilization documentation for the instruments.

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