State officials confirm first known transmission of hepatitis C passed at Scott Harrington's clinic

TULSA -- A Tulsa dentist accused of exposing thousands of patients to HIV and hepatitis is believed to be responsible for the first known transmission of hepatitis C, according to state health officials.

Oklahoma State Department of Health and Tulsa Health Department released results of its investigation into the dental practice of W. Scott Harrington, D.M.D. in Tulsa and Owasso Wednesday morning. The interim status report found "the first documented report of patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C."

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OSDH says the investigation indicates hepatitis C was transferred from one dental patient to another during visits to one of Harrington's offices.

Health officials believe the cross-contamination between patients may have been caused by poor infection control procedures.

In March, the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry accused the Tulsa- and Owasso-area oral surgeon with a number of unhygienic practices, including the housing of rusted tools and a drug vial that expired in 1993, in March.

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The findings prompted state and local health officials to notify current and former patients of Harrington to test for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection.

More than 4,200 people have been tested at free screening clinics that ran through June 28. The OSDH reports 89 of the dentist's ex-patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B and four for HIV. 

RELATED: Class action suit filed against Dr. Scott Harrington, accused of exposing patients to HIV, hepatitis (http://bit.ly/drlawsuit)

Harrington's hearing is now slated for Jan. 17 in Oklahoma City.

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