NSU dental patients possibly exposed to certain viruses due to sterilization issues

Letter highlights 'inconsistency in sterilization protocols' at clinic

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

DAVIE, Fla. - Nova Southeastern University's College of Dental Medicine recently informed patients that they might have been exposed to certain viruses due to an "inconsistency in the prescribed sterilization procedures."

According to an NSU letter dated last Friday, the issue was discovered at the Post-Graduate Orthodontic Clinic at 3200 S. University Drive in Davie. None of the university's 11 other dental clinics appear to have been affected.

The letter informed more than 1,100 patients that the deviation from the proper sterilization procedures created a minimal risk for possible exposure to certain viruses.

"Instead of the called-for complete heat sterilization process, equipment received a surface disinfectant wipe," NSU spokesman Brandon L. Hensler said in a statement. "Once the college learned of the isolated breach of protocol in this one clinic, NSU conducted an extensive review to ensure that this clinic is following the same CDC-prescribed protocols as the other 11 dental clinics.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this created a minimal risk for possible exposure to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV viruses for some of our orthodontics patients. The CDC and an independent infection control expert retained by NSU said the risk is extremely low. Still, decisive steps have been taken to eliminate the variance and to ensure that all protocols are strictly followed." 

The letter informed patients that they could be screened by an NSU physician or by their own physician, in which case NSU would cover the cost of the visit.

The NSU medical team will be on call for the next 60 days Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patients who received a notification letter can contact NSU physicians at 954-262-4144 for assistance.

Other patients or individuals who have questions or concerns about the dental clinics may call 954-262-1868. 

"Nova Southeastern University's College of Dental Medicine is committed to providing high-quality orthodontic care," the letter read. "NSU understands the importance of the services we provide to the patients of South Florida, and we take this commitment very seriously."

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