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Health Unit Concludes Hepatitis C Investigation


The local Health Unit’s investigation into the potential exposure of patients of a Lindsay dental clinic to bloodborne viruses has concluded.

In May 2018, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit alerted patients of Lakeland Clinic in Lindsay that they may be at risk for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The warning came after the Health Unit determined that there were times in which the proper sterilization of equipment may not have happened at the dental clinic. When sterilization is not done properly, there is a risk that clients can be exposed to other people’s germs on improperly cleaned instruments. 

The investigation of the dental clinic started after the Health Unit was notified of a dental clinic patient who had been recently diagnosed with hepatitis C, with a strain or genotype not commonly seen in Canada. In its investigation, the Health Unit found a second patient who had previously been diagnosed with hepatitis C with the same uncommon genotype who had received treatment at the same dental clinic on the same day, just prior to the newly-diagnosed case. These two linked cases, and the discovery that proper sterilization of equipment may not have always happened at the clinic, prompted the Health Unit to send letters to patients of the clinic.  Based on its investigation, the Health Unit wanted people who received treatment at the dental clinic between November 10, 2017 and February 21, 2018 to be tested for the three bloodborne viruses. 

Of the 257 patient notification letters sent out by the Health Unit, 223 (87 per cent) had their blood tested. As there is a long incubation period for hepatitis C, the Health Unit sent out 167 additional letters urging patients to have follow-up blood testing done. Of those 167 patients, 92 (55 per cent) had tests completed. 

There were no additional newly-positive cases of hepatitis C, hepatitis B or HIV identified as a result of this testing.

If you have any questions about this IPAC lapse please call us at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1232 to speak with a nurse.

Resources:

Infection Prevention and Control Lapse Report 

Commonly Asked Questions

Fact Sheet - Hepatitis C 

Fact Sheet - Hepatitis B – Get the Facts 

Fact Sheet - HIV and AIDS

Media Resources:

Media Release - April 23, 2019

Media Release - May 29, 2018

Video #1 - What prompted the warning for people to get their blood tested?

Video #2 - What prompted the warning for people to get their blood tested?

Video #3 - What kind of diseases might patients be at risk of getting?

Video #4 - How did you notify patients?

Video #5 - What is the level of risk to patients?

Video #6 - How will patients be tested?



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