Measles Other ATDs

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Dentists Should Test Patients For Measles Other ATDs Before Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends that dental practices should screen all their patients for highly contagious viruses and other aerosol transmissible diseases before administering dental treatment to ensure adequate disease prevention.

Highly contagious viral diseases, measles, and other Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATDs) are on the rise. In fact, the number of detected measles cases in California, and at least 25 other states have surpassed the highest number of reported cases in the United States since 1994, according to data available with the California Dental Association website.

Dentists should also make reasonable screening requests while recording their patient’s medical history. They should ask whether their patient has an up-to-date vaccination record and whether they have been abroad recently.

The CDCP emphasizes the importance of these questions by asking all health care providers, including dentists, to also look for “clinically compatible measles symptoms” such as fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and pink eye. CDC also recommends being vigilant with the line of questioning while treating dental patients from regions where measles is currently reoccurring. CDC has stated that those at risk include:

  • People who have not been administered the measles vaccine
  • People who’ve recently traveled internationally
  • People who’ve been in contact with someone who’s recently gone abroad

On account of the severity of the situation, dental practices should reschedule the appointments of suspected measles or other ATD patients until a physician has cleared them or they have stopped exhibiting the symptoms of the said diseases.

For ATD exposure control measures, health care providers have to comply with Cal/OSHA regulations. According to the CDC, dentists don’t treat cough-inducing ATDs, so they’re “conditionally exempt” from the regulations unless the following four requirements are met:

  • No dental treatment should be administered to patients identified as ATD or suspected ATD cases.
  • The CDC has issued a written screening procedure for ATD patients called “The Injury and Illness Prevention Program,” which contains the guidelines for infection prevention and control while performing dental procedures on patients who may present with ATD exposure risk factors.
  • Per Section 3203, all employees should be trained to administer the proper screening procedure.
  • A possible ATD exposure risk patient (identified via the screening process) should not be administered aerosol-generating dental treatment until a licensed physician declares the suspected patient ATD-free, reported the California Dental Association website.

Heightened Risk of Measles in the U.S.

The measles outbreak in California has confirmed 47 adult and pediatric cases untill March 2019. Most of these cases were reported in Butte, Los Angeles, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties with one or two exceptions. In regions such as Butte County, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco, lower vaccination rates and recent international travel or direct contact with someone who’s traveled abroad have been linked to the outbreak of measles.

To stop the spreading of this preventable disease, the CDC has asked all healthcare providers, including dentists, to screen patients for measles before administering any other treatment.

 

 

 

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