Article published by the American Dental Association on October 17th, 2014
ADA, CDC, OSAP Provide Resources to Dental Professionals
The ADA remains in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) regarding Ebola and is dedicated to providing the most up to date information for dental professionals on this evolving issue.
As of October 17, 2014, dental professionals are advised of the following:
A person infected with Ebola is not considered contagious until symptoms appear. Due to the virulent nature of the disease, it is highly unlikely that someone with Ebola symptoms will seek dental care when they are severely ill. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ADA Division of Science, dental professionals are advised to take a medical history, including a travel history from their patients with symptoms in which a viral infection is suspected.
As recommended by the ADA Division of Science, any person within 21 days of returning from the West African countries Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea may be at risk of having contacted persons infected with Ebola and may not exhibit symptoms. If this is the case, dental professionals are advised to delay routine dental care of the patient until 21 days have elapsed from their trip. Palliative care for serious oral health conditions, dental infections and pain can be provided if necessary after consulting with the patient’s physician and conforming to standard precautions and physical barriers.
An elevated temperature (fever) is often a consequence of infection, but Ebola is not the only infection that may have similar signs and symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms of Ebola infection are:
- fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F) and severe headache
- muscle pain
- stomach pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising
- immediately protect themselves by using standard precautions with physical barriers (gowns, masks, face protection, and gloves)
- immediately call 911 on behalf of the patient
- notify the appropriate state or local health department authorities
- ask the health department to provide you and your staff with the most up-to-date guidance on removing and disposing of potentially contaminated materials and equipment, including the physical barriers.
Information and resources on Ebola are posted on the CDC’s website at cdc.gov. A checklist for healthcare providers (PDF) specific to Ebola is included on the site.