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Up to 100 Patients Urged to Be Tested for 'Infectious Diseases' after Arkansas Dentist's Death

Update Date: Apr 10, 2013 12:11 PM EDT
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Patients of Arkansas dentist Dr. William Jarrod Stewart are recommended to receive blood tests. Up to 100 patients may have come into contact with an unidentified "infectious material" if they received an intravenous injection between November 20, 2011 and February 20, 2012.

According to Fox News, the clinics are under the Ocean Dental umbrella in Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Jonesboro and Little Rock and the Bevans Pediatric Dentistry in Little Rock.

According to ABC News, Stewart died on February 29, 2012. It is unclear how the 40-year-old dentist died, though officials have stated that it was not from an infectious disease.

"Although Ocean Dental is not aware of any information indicating that Dr. Stewart had any infectious disease, and no reports have been received about any of these patients contracting any infectious disease, the Arkansas Department of Health is recommending that these patients be tested as a precaution," Ocean Dental said in a statement.

The Associated Press reports that the patients will be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis.

Dr. Stewart became licensed in Louisiana in 1998, but surrendered his dentistry license in Louisiana after problems with substance abuse a year later. Soon afterwards, Arkansas allowed him to receive a license, with terms and conditions. Dr. Stewart lost his license once again in 2001 after he tested positive for traces of cocaine in his system, but that revocation of his license was stayed as long as he paid a fine and met some other terms.

Investigators determined that patients may have been at risk when they noticed that vials of controlled substances had been tampered with. However, it appears to be quite rare that dental patients become sick with infectious diseases from dentists' offices.

This announcement comes on the heels of a recent investigation that found that as many as 7,000 patients at a dentist's office in Oklahoma may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Officials say that the cases are extremely different, as the dentist in Tulsa, Oklahoma and his practice may have behaved in a way that put the patients at risk for health problems.

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