Vets warned about virus exposure

June 30, 2010 at 7:56 AM

ST. LOUIS, June 30 (UPI) -- Hundreds of veterans may have been exposed to viruses when they had dental work performed at a St. Louis facility, the Department of Veterans Affairs said.

The federal agency said it is sending letters to 1,812 veterans who received treatment at the St. Louis VA Medical Center during a 13-month period ending in March, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

The letter said dental equipment at the facility wasn't being properly cleaned and as a result there was an "extremely low" risk of infection.

The letter offers free blood tests to screen for HIV and the hepatitis B and C viruses.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., sent a letter to the head of the VA requesting a formal investigation of the matter. Carnahan called the potential exposure an "indefensible breach of standard operating procedure."

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