No new positives in latest results of Harrington patients' testing

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Updated: 5/23/2013 5:04 pm Published: 4/18/2013 12:52 pm

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Tulsa Health Department announced the sixth round of test results from patients of W. Scott Harrington's dental surgical practice and found no new positives.

On March 28, public health officials advised current and former patients of the practice they may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses at Harrington’s Tulsa and Owasso offices and urged them to get tested.

One new case of hepatitis B has been identified since the last situation update, for a total of five that have tested positive so far.  70 individuals have tested positive for hepatitis C. There have been three positive HIV infections so far.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory is providing the laboratory analysis on specimens collected at these sites. The lab has completed testing for 3,899 people.

“We understand these first reported test results may be of concern,” said THD Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Thorough investigations are routinely conducted upon notification of a positive report for these infections. This response will be handled in the same manner, as disease investigation is a core public health service and staff are well trained to conduct this type of response.”

The OSDH and THD have begun notifying persons who participated in the screening of their test results. 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.

“This is a complex investigation,” emphasized State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “The next phase will include more in-depth interviews of persons who test positive to determine the likelihood that their exposure is associated with their dental surgical procedure at the Harrington practice. We will certainly continue to keep the public informed as we learn more.”

Tests used to identify hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are based on the body’s immune response to infection. Persons infected will begin to test positive within weeks with almost all testing positive within six months of exposure. Persons who are tested prior to six months after exposure and are found to be negative should be tested again at six months after exposure to assure they are negative.

To date, 3,891 people have visited county health departments throughout the state to have their blood drawn for testing as part of this public health response. An unknown number of persons have sought testing through their private health care provider.

In the Tulsa metropolitan area, screening continues weekdays at the North Regional Health and Wellness Center, 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Patients are advised to call the North Regional Health and Wellness Center directly at (918)595-4380 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins will still be accepted, however appointments are recommended in order to minimize wait times.

Anyone who was a patient at Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s dental practice should contact the Patient Information hotline (918)595-4500 with any questions. English- and Spanish-speaking public health representatives will be available during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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