Member Alert: Resources for addressing possible Ebola infected patients
October 16th, 2014
AAOMS has received numerous calls from members asking how to handle patients who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. At the present time and until the CDC decides otherwise, the best course of action for OMS offices is to:
- Follow the CDC’s Infection Control Practices for Dentistry
- Familiarize yourself and your staff with:
- a. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standards
- b. ACS’s Surgical Protocol for Possible or Confirmed Ebola Cases, which addresses procedures for the operatory.
- c. ADA/CDC guidelines for handling patients who may be infected with the virus.
- d. Stay abreast of developments regarding the Ebola virus at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/.
- Adhere to the one needle – one time safe injection practice guidelines promoted by the CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition.
- At the time the appointment is made, ask whether the patient has recently travelled outside the United States, and if so, where. Patients who have recently travelled to West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea may be at risk.
- If the patient has recently travelled outside the US, ask that he or she take their temperature BEFORE coming into the office. If the patient has a temperature over 101.5 F, an appointment should not be scheduled or cancelled if already scheduled.
- Inform the patient that their temperature will be taken again when they arrive at the OMS office. Be sure your practice has an accurate thermometer.
It is important to remember that persons infected with Ebola are not considered contagious until symptoms appear. Also, 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, it is a good idea for you and your staff to be familiar with these guidelines and protocols in the event they are needed.