Australian dentist exposes hundreds to HIV, hepatitis

A Sydney, Australia, dentist's lapses in infection control may have exposed nearly 1,000 patients to blood-borne pathogens over the last 10 years.

A public health investigation revealed improperly sterilized equipment at two North Sydney dental practices operated by Dr. Nuha Kamil, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. On January 6, 980 patients were sent letters warning them of the "low risk" of HIV and hepatitis B and C exposure. So far, only 12 have contacted the public health unit after receiving the letter.

Investigators cited infection-control processes in the cleaning and sterilizing of reusable instruments that did not meet standard sterilizing procedures. No confirmed cases of patients contracting HIV or hepatitis have been reported, according to the article.

The Dental Council of New South Wales (NSW) and NSW Health Care Complaints Commission launched their investigation after receiving several complaints about Dr. Kamil's practice, the article explained. Dr. Kamil can continue to practice under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency's conditions, which state that she may not treat patients without the presence of a dental nurse or assistant with infection-control training and experience.

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