(Photo : Reuters )
The Arkansas Department of Health reports that 100 patients of a now deceased dentist may have been exposed to "infectious material" and is now encouraging them to undergo blood testing.
And while the state health department has not identified any specific material, there is a timeframe in place of when the possible infection could have occurred.
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Patients who received intravenous medication from Dr. William Jarrod Stewart between Nov. 20, 2011 and Feb. 20, 2012 are considered to be at risk for exposure.
Stewart died just nine days after the time frame ended on Feb. 29, 2012, but his cause of death remains unknown.
Stewart worked at various Ocean Dental clinics around the state, including Bevans Pediatric Dentistry and other offices in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro and Little Rock. And according to the health department, only the patients of the Fort Smith location are not at risk.
"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 at-risk patients will be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis---according to Dr. Dirk Haselow, state epidemiologist.
"We have no reason to believe that anyone is at risk of a particular illness," Haselow said.
"We are just notifying people because this situation is highly unusual and we don't know what we don't know."