Monday, October 27, 2014

the ebola virus

The E-word has finally reached Penn. We received a university-wide email informing us that Penn is one of the hospitals prepared to deal with the Ebola outbreak. 

We always go through a medical history update at every appointment. It's been added a few more questions including: have you traveled outside the U.S. in the past 30 days? And a follow-up question: where? Was it Sierra Leone or Liberia or Guinea? There's another question that follows: have you come in contact with an Ebola-affected person? 


Because EBV spreads through direct contact and body fluids (saliva and blood!) dentists are at an especially high risk for exposure. Saliva is kind of the name of our game. In keeping up with dentists' concerns, ADA has released a guideline statement on dealing with Ebola-stricken patients.
I like that we use personal protective equipments regularly. Sometimes we see old clinical pictures of patients and cringe at dentists' bare hands. They did not use gloves & practiced with skin-to-skin contact. Wearing gloves, face mask and glasses just comes naturally for us: I do feel naked without my PPE.

If you've read The Hot Zone, you might have vowed to stay locked inside until all this goes away. Unfortunately CDC just confirmed yet another Ebola patient in NYC this week... not to mention it is all over the news spilling onto political debates. I like that it's on everyone's minds so we are extra careful with the protective gears but please let's not dress like this for Halloween... I don't think that even works.

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