MOUNT BETHEL, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Health Department is warning patients of a Northampton County dentist that they may have been exposed to potentially deadly diseases over an 11-year period.
Officials say Cotturo Dental Associates on Delaware Drive in Mount Bethel did not follow appropriate infection prevention and control procedures. Dr. Palmer Cotturo voluntarily surrendered his license in September and health officials are warning patients to get tested.
“An investigation by the departments of Health and State found that Cotturo Dental Associates did not follow appropriate procedures to properly clean, disinfect, or sterilize devices. The inadequate infection control procedures at this practice could create the potential for harm, so we are recommending patients get tested,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
The dental practice is now closed for business after the Department of Health opened an investigation. Health officials learned that the practice was not properly sterilizing its medical devices and patients may now be at risk for HIV and hepatitis B and C.
“I’m not very happy with the news,” said one anonymous patient. “We found out from the Department of Health.”
A former patient of Dr. Cotturo’s who asked to remain anonymous after learning he and his wife may have contracted a disease. He said his wife broke the news to him and he had to see it to believe it.
“I have access to the internet and looked online and I said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it,'” he said.
The department recommends testing for all current or former patients who had dental procedures performed at the office, such as cleanings, fillings, implants, denture fittings, and other procedures since Jan. 1, 2007.
So far, it’s unclear if anyone has contracted a disease.
For more information, patients can call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).