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July 14, 1975

Control of Hepatitis B Virus

Author Affiliations

Granada Hills, Calif

JAMA. 1975;233(2):138. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260020024015

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To the Editor.—  Regarding the control of hepatitis B virus in QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (229:579, 1974) and the response of Drs. Patterson and Bond in LETTERS (231:700,1975), I would like to add that probably a major source of hepatitis transmittal has been overlooked by our dental-surgical colleagues.It is still common practice to reuse anesthetic cartridges (Carpules) from patient to patient, although needles are currently disposed of. The more deleterious potential problem, however, is the lack of adequate sterilization of the dental-surgical instruments because they "are dulled."It seems to me that common sense would dictate that all instruments used in the mouth of a patient would be heat-sterilized appropriately, or disposed of following such use, as a break in gingiva or fomite of saliva certainly could be a source of hepatitis virus contamination and inoculation of patient or dentist.