So maybe it was the equipment allowing backflow into patients mouths during extractions (blecch), or inadequate sterilization measures, but whatever the case, Hepatitis B has been officially contracted during dental procedures.
A free, volunteer-staffed program offered at a West Virginia high school found that three patients and two clinicians came down with Hepatitis B viruses that were tested and matched at a molecular level, indicating that the infections came from a common source.
All people involved at the Mission of Mercy clinic last summer were mailed letters last week encouraging that they be tested for the virus. The testing is being paid for by the state of West Virginia. (Insert your best West Virginia joke here. And then be ashamed of yourself for doing it).
If you have any response to this news, it should be to check your own infection control systems, to be sure that your high speed evacuation is up to par, that you aren’t just wiping down handpieces, and that every patient is treated with those universal precautions that were so important in dental school.
After all, you wouldn’t want this happening in an elite state, like Washington.