It is always important for the oral healthcare community to stay informed about emerging diseases and to maintain vigilance in following the principles of infection control. Following are three important points for the oral healthcare profession:
The risk of an Ebola transmission in a dental healthcare setting is extremely low. It is highly unlikely that someone with Ebola symptoms will seek dental care when they are severely ill. Unlike other, more common viruses such as influenza and measles, a person with Ebola is only contagious when they have symptoms.
Remember the Chain of Infection requires all the following elements to be present in order for infection to occur: a. A pathogenic organism of sufficient virulence and in adequate numbers to cause disease b. AND a reservoir or source that allows the pathogen to survive and multiply (e.g., all body fluids including blood); c. AND a mode of transmission from the source to the host; d. AND a portal of entry through which the pathogen can enter the host; e. AND a susceptible host (i.e., one who is not immune)
The global attention on this emerging disease offers the opportunity to use this as a teachable moment to refresh our knowledge of the four principles of infection control. a. Principle #1: Take actions to stay healthy (1) Ensure the dental team is up-to-date with CDC-recommended immunizations (2) Review CDC hand hygiene information (3) If staff are ill, ensure they stay home per CDC guidelines on work restrictions for healthcare personnel infected with or exposed to major infectious diseases (see Table 1) (4) Discuss language or provide signage for front office personnel to ensure patients are screened for illness prior to presenting to the office. b.Principle #2: Avoid contact with blood & body fluid (1) Review Standard Precautions. Standard precautions include use of PPE (e.g., gloves, masks, protective eyewear or face shield, and gowns) intended to prevent skin and mucous membrane exposures. Click HERE for CDC poster in English & Spanish on how to don/doff PPE. Other protective equipment (e.g., finger guards while suturing) might also reduce injuries during dental procedures. (2) Review Engineering and Work Practice Controls (see page 3 of link) (3) Review Isolation Precautions as needed c. Principle #3: Make patient care items safe for use (1) Equipment processing including removing items from operatory; cleaning; preparing and packaging; sterilization and sterilization verification and storing sterile and clean patient-care items. d. Principle #4: Limit the spread of blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) (1) Environmental infection control (e.g., cleaning and disinfection, use of surface barriers, management of regulated waste)
1-888-426-89281-888-426-8928 (International: +1-773-756-4798+1-773-756-4798) Verbal Passcode: Ebola Speaker: Dr. Kashef Ijaz, MD, MPH, Principal Deputy Director for the Division of Global Health Protection in the CDC's Center for Global Health. Dr. Ijaz will provide an update on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, recent developments in the United States and answer questions addressing private sector concerns and support. Please note - there is a limited amount of phone lines. It is recommended that interested participants call in at least 15 minutes early to be connected. If multiple people from your organization plan to call in, please participate as a group using one phone line.
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