01 Feb

Health board contacts parents following Auckland school dental clinic scare

shutterstock_561935647Representatives from Counties Manukau Health (CMH) are contacting the families of children who attended a school clinic in South Auckland amid concerns that children may have come into contact with contaminated water.
Health authorities are writing to the parents of children who attended appointments at Pukekohe Intermediate Dental Clinic between September 2016 and the 23rd January 2017 after concerns were raised about possible exposure to contaminated water supplies.
A spokesperson for the board said that there was a “very small chance” that children who received treatment during this period of time may have been exposed to water, which had not been sterilised. The risk of contamination with saliva or blood is incredibly low; however, children have been advised to attend screening checks. It is possible that children who attended the clinic may be at risk of viral infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Health chiefs have emphasised that the risk is very low, and urged parents not to worry, as it’s very rare for these illnesses to be diagnosed in children in New Zealand.
CMH’s chief medical officer, Dr Johnson, said that the majority of pre-school children will have only had visual examination, and they may not require blood tests.
The problem has been attributed to equipment, rather than errors on the part of dental professionals, and an investigation has been launched.