The Department of Health is urging patients of the three Trieu Dental Clinic branches in Philadelphia to get tested for HIV, and hepatitis B and C following an investigation that revealed improper sterilization and injection safety practices.
According to CBS Philadelphia, the risk of infection is low, and the Health Department is not presently aware of any cases of infection. But health officials say hundreds of patients who may have been exposed should still get tested to rule out any infections.
All three of the locations at 437 West Chew Ave. in Olney, 5427 North 5th St. in Olney and 6536 Woodland Ave. in Elmwood have been closed since Dec. 7 after an anonymous tip spurned an investigation into sanitary violations. These offices will remain closed until the Health Department determines that it is safe for patients to begin receiving treatment.
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All dental patients have been notified, and have been urged to get tested by healthcare providers. The warning is specifically for any patients who have received treatment between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 7, 2018.
According to NBC10 Philadelphia, this warning applies to about 1,500 patients.
"The sterilization and handling of used instruments on patients was not being cleaned appropriately or in a timely fashion," Director of Disease Control with the Philadelphia Health Department Dr. Steven Alles told NBC10.
The Health Department has a hotline for any patients who may have concerns or questions about their potential exposure to these bloodborne diseases. They are encouraged to call (215) 218-2999 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.