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The 1990 Florida Dental Investigation: The Press and the Science

Carol A. Ciesielski, MD; Donald W. Marianos, DDS, MPH; Gerald Schochetman, PhD; John J. Witte, MD, MPH; and Harold W. Jaffe, MD
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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahassee, Florida. Requests for Reprints: Carol A. Ciesielski, MD, Division of HIV/AIDS (E-47), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1994;121(11):886-888. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-121-11-199412010-00011
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Since human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission from a dentist to six of his patients was first reported in 1990 by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, controversy and speculation have surrounded the investigation of that case.This controversy has been fueled by the inability to determine exactly how the transmissions occurred. Many theories have appeared in the media and have led to confusion and uncertainty about the facts of this investigation.

Recently, a magazine article and a newspaper article, as well as a segment on the television newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” presented information that was largely based on findings by investigators hired as part of private litigation and that cast doubt on the conclusion that the patients had been infected by the dentist. However, these reports omitted pertinent epidemiologic and laboratory evidence that shows that no other sources of HIV infection could be documented for the six dental patients. The scientific evidence indicates that the Florida dentist transmitted HIV to six of his patients.

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