A VA Medical Center is advising veterans to be screened for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV after determining that a dentist working at the center did not follow standard infection control procedures for a year.


A total of 592 veterans at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin, who received care from one dentist between October 2015 and October 2016, are potentially at risk because the dentist did not properly sanitize a dental bur, which is used for removing decay and cutting teeth. Instead, the dentist used his own equipment, cleaned it, and re-used it. The VA requires the use of disposable dental burs to ensure sterility.

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“He brought in his own burs and cleaned them with a Virex solution, salt, and a wipe, which is just nothing we endorse,” said Victoria Brahm, acting director of the Tomah VA Medical Center, at a news conference. “During all of the orientation, he used our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”


Thus far, no veterans have tested positive for hepatitis or HIV, and the risk is believed to be low.


After the VA prohibited the dentist from continuing to provide clinical care at the center, the dentist, who has not been named, has subsequently resigned.