Media Release - Patients of Guelph Dental Associates advised to get tested for hepatitis and HIV

June 30, 2017: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is sending letters today to anyone who was a patient of Guelph Dental Associates and had a dental procedure done between January 21, 2015 and June 21, 2017. They will be advised to talk to their doctor about getting tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV due to concerns that the sterilization of dental instruments was not being done properly.

Although the risk of infection is categorized as “low” by infectious disease experts, patients are being encouraged to get tested.

“After we received a complaint from a member of the public, Public Health immediately inspected the clinic the following day and closed the office. It will be reopened when all equipment is safely sterilized according to the standards of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “Public safety is our first priority so anyone who received a letter should speak with their doctor about getting tested.”

Public Health is extending call centre hours over the weekend to answer concerns from the public. Please check wdgpublichealth.ca for more information.

Public health units are responsible for following up any complaints about how equipment is used in a doctor’s or dentist’s office or any other regulated health professional such as chiropractors or massage therapists.

Public Health will continue to work closely with health and dental care providers to ensure their infection control practices pose no risk to their patients.

Media Contact:

Chuck Ferguson, Communications Manager
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4374
chuck.ferguson@wdgpublichealth.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health received an infection control complaint against the Guelph Dental Associates location at 380 Eramosa Rd. on Tuesday, June 20. Provincial legislation mandates all public health units to report, investigate and respond to infection complaints including those which involve a regulated health professional, like a dental clinic.

Public Health completed an inspection the next business day on Wednesday, June 21 and immediately closed the location. Although the clinic was undertaking sterilization procedures they were not adhering with published best practices documents including those set out by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons and the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC). As a result, there is a low risk that some patients may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Some dental devices are reusable. After being used for a patient, the devices must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized before being used for another patient. There are specific standards that dictate how cleaning, disinfection and sterilization must take place in order to kill all organisms on the devices.

Although the risk is very low, it is not possible to estimate an individual’s risk, which is why it is recommended all patients who had a procedure done at this location between January 21, 2015 and June 21, 2017 get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.