ebolaIn light of recent cases of Ebola in the United States, the American Dental Association (ADA) reminds all practicing dental professionals and dental laboratories to use standard Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings. Guidelines released by the CDC in September remain the same.

The CDC works with partners at US ports of entry to help prevent infectious diseases from being introduced and spread in the United States. It notes that a person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. Signs and symptoms of Ebola include fever and severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and/or unexplained bleeding or bruising. The CDC further states that the virus is spread through direct contact (via broken skin or mucous membranes), with blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with the virus. In addition, Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or—in general—by food.

The CDC reports that dental providers should continue to follow standard infection control procedures; an Ebola-specific checklist for healthcare providers is available on the CDC website.

According to the ADA Division of Science and Professional Affairs, dental professionals should conduct a medical history that gathers travel information from any patient exhibiting viral infection symptoms. If the provider suspects Ebola, her or she should use physical barrier protection (gowns, masks, face protection, and gloves), and contact the state or local health department.