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May 15, 2013

Health board takes no action on Tulsa dentist



The Health Department reported last week that 3,796 people have visited county health departments throughout the state to have their blood drawn for testing in connection with the public health investigation. Others have sought testing through their private health care providers.

The agency said 70 people had tested positive for hepatitis C and four had tested positive for hepatitis B. Three positive HIV infections have also been identified, according to the Health Department.

But it remains unclear whether the patients were infected at the clinic. Officials have said members of Harrington’s staff reported they knew several already-infected patients who came to the clinic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the spread of hepatitis or HIV infections at a dental clinic is extremely rare, with only three cases on record.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said last week it was too soon to say whether his office would bring criminal charges against Harrington.

Harrington, who has been a dentist for 36 years, voluntarily surrendered his credentials on March 20 and agreed not to practice medicine until an Aug. 16 hearing where his medical license could be revoked.

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