Veterans who received dental treatment from February 1, 2009 to March 11, 2009 at certain VA Centers may be at risk for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV due to a breach in sanitation processes. It is estimated that 18,000 veterans in Missouri, Illinois and other states have been exposed to these disease pathogens during treatment for oral health conditions within the date above mentioned range. It is not known if Texas is one of those states. However, Texan veterans can contact the VA to identify if they may be affected by this breach and may request a blood test to rule out the presence of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV pathogens.
To date, the St. Louis VA Medical Center at the John Cochran Division has sent nearly 2,000 letters to veterans announcing the breach in dental practices and risk for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. So, not all affected veterans may be aware of these disease risks at this point in time. Congressman Russ Carnahan of Missouri has demanded a formal investigation and has contacted the White House, the Veterans Administration, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs regarding this matter.
If you feel you have been affected, you can contact a veteran medical center near you to schedule an appointment for blood tests that can identify and rule out the risk.
Sterilization is an important process for all dental professionals. Dentists take precautions to avoid the risk of transmitting disease ridden pathogens to patients. In fact, many private dentists have been on the forefront of going green to prevent pollutants from contaminating dental equipment and our environment.
If you are interested in learning more about precautions taken at dental practices to prevent the risk of disease, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas dentist at 512-380-1300.