Helpline opens after 'infected' dentist dies

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The Independent Online
ABOUT 120 people yesterday telephoned a helpline opened for thousands of patients of a London dentist who may have died of an Aids- related illness.

Camden and Islington Family Health Services Authority also announced it was holding an inquiry, following the death of the dentist last Monday.

Newspapers reported at the weekend that Vikram Advani was believed to be the first HIV-infected dentist in Britain to have died of an Aids-related illness, bronchopneumonia. His main practice was in Camden Road, north London, and he had a smaller practice for six months in Duke's Lane in Kensington. They both closed in 1991.

In a statement yesterday, the authority said: 'It has been suggested that a dentist who used to practice within the area covered by the Camden and Islington and Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster family health services authorities recently died from an Aids-related illness.

'Any individual, whether a health care worker or not, has a right to confidentiality. While the health authorities must respect this position, they are establishing the facts of the case in order to know what action, if any, is necessary for the well-being of the patients.'

The statement added that if there was a need for individual patients to be followed up as a precautionary measure, this would be done.

Dr Mark McCarthy, director of public health for Camden and Islington, said: 'The risk of transmission of the HIV virus from a health care worker to a patient during treatment is extremely remote.'