Ebola and Dentistry

By now everyone knows about the Ebola scare.  While it’s not good to over-react, it’s smart to be aware of precautions to prevent any adverse effects to the dental team and the community at large.   The CDC and OSHA are responsible for guiding the world on handling this, and the ADA (America Dental Association) puts out information to the dental community so that we are implementing that part of the plan.

Universal Precautions

Dentists have what’s known as universal precautions in place, mainly as a result of the HIV scare from the early 80’s and 90’s. So if an office makes sure that they practice what is already expected, that should minimize exposure to all.   (According to OSHA,” Universal precautions is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.”)

 Precautions for Ebola

The signs of Ebola are severe enough that it is highly unlikely that a patient coming in for a dental appointment would actually keep the appointment. These symptoms include muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, unexplained bleeding, bruising, and a fever over 101.5 degrees.

At this time it is important to be alert to travel history: West African countries of Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, and Guinea.

We are in the early stages of globally fighting this disease.   For the time being the solution is to not over react but to be alert and conform to guidelines and recommendations as they are issued and do our part to make Ebola a thing of the past.