Faulty dental sterilization reported at veterans hospital in St. Louis

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 8:48 a.m. CDT; updated 9:50 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 17, 2011

ST. LOUIS — The Department of Veterans Affairs has notified nearly 2,000 veterans that they could have been exposed to viral infections because dental equipment at the VA medical center in St. Louis was inadequately sterilized.

Letters were sent Monday to 1,812 veterans who had dental procedures performed at the John Cochran Dental Clinic from Feb. 1, 2009, through March 11 of this year.

VA officials say that while they believe the health risk is "extremely low," those who had procedures are being offered free screenings for infections.

Officials say the sterilization problem was determined during quality reviews.

Rep. Russ Carnahan, a St. Louis Democrat, is asking the VA to conduct a formal investigation.

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