HIV and hepatitis C risk to patients as Cairns dental clinic closed by health authorities

| 30.07,19. 05:56 PM |

HIV and hepatitis C risk to patients as Cairns dental clinic closed by health authorities

Photo: Patients were exposed to a low risk of several diseases, health officials say. (ABC News: Marian Faa)

Health authorities are urging more than 500 patients of a dental clinic in Far North Queensland to be tested for HIV and hepatitis.

The Essential Dental for Life clinic at Smithfield in Cairns has been temporarily closed as its infection control practices from March 2018 are investigated.

The clinic has about 550 people on its books.

Don Mackie from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service said patients had been exposed to a low risk of several diseases, including HIV and hepatitis C.

"It's about the cleaning and sterilisation of instruments between one patient and the next," Dr Mackie said.

"There are standard processes and we are led to find that these were not being done in the standard and acceptable way."

Dr Mackie said it had "no evidence that anyone has gotten any infections because of this".

"But we're going through the screening process really out of an abundance of caution, to make sure people are identified and given very effective treatments for all of those conditions, which can often go on for a while undiagnosed without proper screening.

"It's really just standard infection control — particularly around the autoclaving and sterilising of instruments."

Practice 'very cooperative'

Dr Mackie said there was "a very remote possibility" of someone getting HIV

"It's … really comes down to the use of the autoclave and all of those other processes," he said.

"That raises the very low probability that some patients may be at risk of blood-borne infections."

Dr Mackie said a free screening clinic would be established to help patients.

"It's taken us quite a bit of time to actually establish the risk that's presented and … to work through the list of patients," he said.

"Now I've got to say, the practice has been very cooperative in helping us with this."

The ABC has contacted the owner of the clinic, Ken Hossen, for comment.

The clinic's website said Dr Hossen had provided dental treatment at Smithfield since 1993.


(Votes: 0)

Other News

Alleged driver who fled crash arrested on plane at Sydney Airport Five youths charged after suspected stolen Jeep involved in Brisbane smash Public chase driver who fled after elderly woman in wheelchair hit by car in Sydney's Newtown Opal Tower unit owners launch multi-million-dollar class action against NSW State Government Centrelink's 'robodebt' program 'harsh and unfair' and should be scrapped, Federal Labor says Sydney bus users can now ‘tap and go’ with credit and debit cards A woman has been found dead in a suburban Melbourne home Body found in bushland at Slacks Creek may be missing woman Simone Rothe, police say Barnaby Joyce says he's struggling to support his families on $211,000 parliamentary income Labor launches attack over energy prices Plane crash at William Creek airfield in South Australian outback Territory police accused of overreaction as shotgun brandished in Gulf bush camp Bomb squad find explosive device at Victorian property Sydney teen falls two metres from rock ledge Man charged over Sydney car rampage Three-year-old girl locked in car while carer in Bankstown club E-cigarettes do not help reduce cancer, World Health Organisation warns Rape suspect who 'faked his own death' arrested Police chase down pedestrian who didn't cross 'in white lines' Police hunt 'upskirter' who filmed schoolgirls on Sydney to Chatswood train Traffic banked up kilometres after fiery north Sydney crash Restaurant owner accused of stabbing himself and torching his Italian eatery Western Sydney shop set alight in 'arson attack' Husband of unregistered Melbourne beauty therapist apologises to patients Man accused of indecently assaulting woman on Sydney trains network arrested Fake tax agent allegedly fleeced backpacker victims of more than $145,000 The deadly bacteria that thrives in a household electric appliance Linked to two Aussie smoked salmon deaths Anita Cobby killer Gary Murphy moved from hospital back to jail after bashing RBA boss Philip Lowe commits to long-term low interest rates as he reaffirms inflation target Monash Freeway crash causes peak-hour delays in Melbourne, but no-one seriously injured