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No infections yet in Pukekohe dental scare

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/02/2017

There have been no reported cases of infection after a scare which may have exposed Pukekohe school children to to HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Health officials have spoken to 90 per cent of those involved in the health scare at the Pukekohe Intermediate Dental Clinic.

Nurses are now trying to get in contact with the remaining families.

"We have tried to make contact with some families multiple times with no success. We are aware of a small number who are out of the area and overseas and have made plans for them," Counties Manukau Health chief medical officer Gloria Johnson said on Friday.

There had been no cases of infection so far, which confirmed initial advice that the risk of infection was extremely low, she said.

However, in most cases children will require two blood tests, the second three months after the first.

A malfunction in equipment at the dental clinic between September 13 and January 23 meant children had a 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 were offered testing for blood-borne viral infections.

Dr Johnson said parents and caregivers had been patient given the difficult situation.

A decision of when the dental clinic will reopen has not yet been made.

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