You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kids screened after Pukekohe health scare

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/02/2017
Child at dentist © JOKER/Ralf Gerard/ullstein bild via Getty Images Child at dentist

Following a health scare at a dental clinic south of Auckland, nurses have been screening a steady stream of children and answering calls from up to 200 concerned parents, officials say.

It comes as malfunctioning equipment at the Pukekohe Intermediate clinic between September 13 and January 23 meant the children treated had "a very small chance" of exposure to unsterilised water, possibly containing blood or saliva.

Children who had a procedure involving compressed air, a drill, extraction or suction are being offered testing for blood-borne viral infections, in particular hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Counties Manukau Health chief medical officer Gloria Johnson says two specialist clinics set up in Pukekohe in response to the scare have been visited by "a steady rate of children".

Nurses at the clinics had been answering questions, screening kids and offering immunisation to those who had not completed their courses, she said.

Around 200 parents had also called a helpline while the specialist teams were also seeking to contact the parents of all the children treated by the clinic.

"We have set up specialist teams but the task of calling 2500 parents is still a large one," she said.

Teams would be operating seven days per week from 8am until 8pm to reassure the community, and until officials were comfortable that sufficient progress had been made, she said.

Dr Johnson said all clinics operated by the Auckland Regional Dental Service had been reviewed and the issue was found to have only occurred at Pukekohe Intermediate.

The problem was with equipment assembly and was not related to clinical practice of the dental staff, Dr Johnson said.

"Our investigation will determine what longer term mitigations need to be put in place to ensure this type of fault doesn't occur in future," she said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon