Dental practices should be aware of measles outbreak

Dental practices should be aware of disease outbreaks in their community, especially aerosol transmissible diseases such as measles.

As of Jan. 21, there were 59 cases of measles among California residents since the end of December 2014, according to the California Department of Public Health. Initial exposure in December at a southern California theme park occurred in 42 of those cases.

The California measles cases occurred 11 local jurisdictions (Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura counties and the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena). One dental practice reported to CDA an employee with measles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children.

More than 95 percent of the people who receive a single dose of the measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccine will develop immunity to all three viruses, according to the CDC.

A dental practice’s ATD screening procedure should include questions on patient’s potential exposure to measles.

For more information on measles, visit cdc.gov.  

Related Items on cda.org

Cal/OSHA Regulation Targets Aerosol Transmissible Diseases

Cal/OSHA has a regulation to prevent the transmission of aerosol transmissible diseases at health care facilities, including nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, drug treatment programs and among specific service providers, such as emergency responders. Aerosol transmissible diseases include all types of influenza, chicken pox, tuberculosis, and several more listed in the regulation's appendix. Most dental practices and many specialty medical practices can be exempt from the regulation, as long as the practices comply with specific conditions.

Injury and Illness Prevention Plan

This is a sample plan that you can customize to describe how your practice prevents workplace injuries and illnesses. If you have employees, you must have this plan. This resource is part of the CDA Regulatory Compliance Manual. This plan has been updated to include procedures for screening patients with aerosol transmissible diseases.