Queensland Health have stated that they are trying to contact up to 500 patients, for HIV screening as their dentist has been tested positive for HIV.
Authorities have explained that the dentist was practising in the Bowen and Collinsville hospital. Dr Jeannette Young, the chief health officer, has explained that though the risk of infection is almost negligible, several hundred patients who were treated since the December 15 last year will be screened.
The Mayor of Bowen has asked the people to maintain calm not asked them not to panic after the disclosure. It has been reported that clinics for blood testing would be set up from early tomorrow morning for the people.
Dr Young Had meanwhile stated that the dentist had stopped working on Tuesday after learning she was HIV positive. She reported at a press conference that the dentist had worked at the hospital from last year and had treated between 350 and 500 people, and that the dentist had also visited local schools as it was a part of her duties when working with the Queensland Health.
Dr Young also explained that the risk of any patient contracting HIV from a dentist was very minimal. Stating that, "It has never happened in Australia," she said that there had been cases in the United States. She also clarified and calmed the anxious patients and family that the dentist observed standard dental practices such as wearing rubber gloves, mask and working with sterilised equipment.
Dr Young has advised that all the patients who had been treated by the dentist from 15th December 2005, to attend the Bowen and Collinsville Hospital for blood testing. She further mentioned, "Queensland Health will also be contacting all patients who had been treated by this dentist to recommend testing."
Dr Young had also announced that a 24 hour information line, '1800 427 799' had already been set up to assist the concerned patients. Stating that an HIV fact sheet was also available on the Queensland Health website, www.health.qld.gov.au, she said, "We recognise that this is a very stressful time for everyone concerned.