The Galveston County Health District announced on March 23rd that approximately 9,500 people have been potentially exposed to hepatitis and HIV over the last three years at dental clinics located in Texas City and Galveston due to poor sanitation.
Dr. Philip Keiser with the Galveston County local health authority said concerns about the sanitation procedures at Coastal Health & Wellness Clinics were raised 38 days ago. On February 12th of this year, inspectors found violations deemed to be “immediate threat-to-life”. These violations are all regarding the lack of sterilization of the dental equipment used for procedures such as tooth extraction and root canals.
Epidemiologists employed by the district have reviewed the infection reports of people diagnosed with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in an attempt to connect them to the clinics.
Due to public health concerns, the district decided to alert the public to the risk of exposure and offer to test these individuals. Any patient who received dental services at Coastal Health & Wellness between March 15, 2015, and Feb. 12, 2018, will be eligible to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The district sent letters to all of the patients who received dental care at Coastal Health & Wellness and as of Monday, March 27th, a hotline was activated for individuals wanting to call for more information. For more information about the free testing, please click here.