Peterborough’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra held a media conference on Thursday (September 19) to advise patients of Kawartha Endodontics — a dental clinic in downtown Peterborough that specializes in root canal treatment and surgery — about a potential risk of bloodborne infection.
Peterborough Public Health is advising patients of Kawartha Endodontics (425 Water St., Suite 200, Peterborough) who received treatment before July 16, 2019 to make an appointment with their healthcare provider to discuss testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
As Kawartha Endodontics received referrals from across central Ontario, the advisory also applies to patients living outside the Peterborough area who had treatment before July 16th.
While the health unit is not aware of any cases of bloodborne infection arising from treatment at Kawartha Endodontics, Dr. Salvaterra is advising patients of the clinic before July 16th to consult their healthcare provider on whether they should be tested.
“While the risk of infection at this clinic is believed to be low, the risk to an individual patient depends on the frequency and type of procedures that were performed,” Salvaterra said.
On July 11th, Peterborough Public Health received a complaint from a member of the public about the infection prevention and control practices at Kawartha Endodontics. After investigating the complaint on July 15th through an inspection, the health unit could not confirm proper sterilization of dental instruments.
Improperly cleaned and improperly sterilized instruments can spread infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, as well as other bacterial pathogens.
Immediately following the July 15th inspection, Peterborough Public Health issued an order to close the clinic and provided endodontist Dr. Rita Kilislian with a list of requirements as per the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee standards. The health unit completed a final re-inspection of Kawartha Endodontics on July 25th, was satisfied the dental clinic met the required standards, and rescinded the closure order. Kawartha Endodontics re-opened on July 26th.
The health unit states patients of Kawartha Endodontics who have received treatment on or after July 26, 2019 are not at an increased risk of infection.
Normally, Peterborough Public Health would order the dental clinic to provide patient contact information so the health unit could directly notify patients by mail, to ensure all patients receive the information they need to make a decision about testing for the possible presence of bloodborne infections. However, Kawartha Endodontics is appealing Dr. Salvaterra’s order for this information.
Since a hearing on the matter is not scheduled until mid-January 2020, the health unit has decided to notify patients using the media, social media, and on its website.
If you were a patient at the clinic and received treatment prior to July 16, 2019, visit Peterborough Public Health’s website at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/IPACLapseKawarthaEndodontics to download and print a copy of the patient letter, laboratory requisition, and letter for your healthcare provider.
More information, including the infection prevention and control lapse report, fact sheets regarding hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, and a detailed question and answer section related to this lapse, is also available at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/IPACLapseKawarthaEndodontics.