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OK dentist's patients may have been exposed to HIV

Authorities say dentist Scott Harrington has voluntarily ceased practicing as a result of their investigation. (Source: KTUL/CNN) Authorities say dentist Scott Harrington has voluntarily ceased practicing as a result of their investigation. (Source: KTUL/CNN)

(KTUL/CNN) - The Tulsa Health Department and the Oklahoma State Department of Health are notifying approximately 7,000 patients about potential exposure to blood borne viruses.

The investigation revealed a Tulsa dentist possibly performed practices that could have exposed patients to infectious materials including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Authorities have identified the dentist as Scott Harrington and say his patients may have been exposed to he illnesses for the past 6 years.

Officials said Harrington's office sanitation techniques put their patients at a high risk of infection.

The Oklahoma Dentistry Board complaint said a device used to sterilize all instruments, called an autoclave, wasn't working properly.

"The instruments that came out of (sanitation machine) were horrible," said Oklahoma Board of Dentistry investigator Susan Rodgers. "I wouldn't let me nephews play with them out in the dirt. I mean, they were horrible. They had rust on them."

The Dentistry Board complaint also said Harrington and his staff told investigators that a "high population of known infectious disease carrier patients" received dental care from him.

The health department is beginning the process of notifying patients who should be tested for the blood-borne illness.

Those patients will begin to receive letters in the mail.

So far, investigators believe at least one patients was infected with Hepatitis C from treatments in the office.

Authorities say Harrington has voluntarily ceased practicing as a result of their investigation.

Copyright 2013 KTUL/CNN. All rights reserved.

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