The state health department in Victoria, Australia fear that an unregistered dentist may have exposed hundreds of patients to a range of blood-borne viruses because of poor infection control and prevention over the course of his 12 years of practising in a north Melbourne suburb.
Muhammet Velispasaoglu is alleged to have provided dental treatment between 2003 and May of this year, according to The Herald Sun. He was unregistered to practise dentistry in Australia and he was arrested following a police raid on his property after concerns were raised by a patient.
Dental equipment, as well as drugs that should only be available to registered medical and dental practitioners, were seized in the raid upon his home.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer, Dr Finn Romanes, said: “There is a low but very real risk of transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV from any potential patient to another patient. The quality of dental care that may have been provided may also be very poor.
“We are taking the unusual step of appealing to the public to contact us because the alleged unregistered dentist did not provide any reliable records about who may have received treatment.”
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency moved quickly after receiving the tip off. Chief Executive, Martin Fletcher, said: “We found him, we acted quickly, we stopped what is alleged to have been practised by an unregistered person and are prosecuting him. It is a concern that this appears to have been going on for so long.”
Mr Velisapasaoglu will now appear in front of a magistrate’s court. The maximum penalty he can receive is $30,000 per offence, with no jail time.
A health department helpline has been established for those who were treated by the unregistered dentist and feel they may be at risk.