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WebDental has posted an important update from the ADA regarding Swine Flu. http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/swine_flu.asp

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), laboratory confirmed human cases of influenza A/H1N1 have occurred in the United States. Status reports are regularly updated and available on the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) Web sites.1,2 Most cases experienced mild flu-like symptoms. All viruses have the same genetic pattern based on preliminary testing. The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to Mexico. For updated travel information see
http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/

What is H1N1 Flu?

H1N1 flu is caused by type A strains of the influenza virus, and is being described as a new subtype of A/H1N1 not previously detected in swine or humans. Previous variants of H1N1 are known since 1918 with the most recent major outbreak in 1977.3

How can Humans Become Infected?

Transmission of all reported cases appears to have resulted from human-to-human contact through coughing or sneezing by the infected person.

What are the Symptoms?

Those carrying the virus can reveal typical flu-like symptoms:

* fever (greater than 100ºF)
* chills
* head and body aches
* fatigue
* cough
* stuffy nose
* sore throat
* vomiting and diarrhea

More serious illnesses such as pneumonia or respiratory illness have also been reported.

What are the Recommendations for Dental Health Care Workers?

The CDC has developed recommendations to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections like H1N1flu in a dental healthcare setting. The CDC recommends that infection control measures be implemented at the first point of contact with a potentially infected person. Dental health care workers looking for guidance regarding prevention of H1N1flu can find the latest information from the CDC’s Division of Oral Health http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/infectioncontrol/index.htm in the document Prevention of Swine Influenza A (H1N1) in the Dental Healthcare Setting.

What can the Dental Team do to be Prepared?

* Close attention should be given to proper hand hygiene Link opens in separate window. Pop-up Blocker may need to be disabled. and coughing etiquette. The CDC has developed a poster for patients that can be downloaded and displayed in the dental office reception area or waiting room.4
* Employ appropriate infection control procedures as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention5 [Also for more information specific to H1N1flu see Interim Guidance for Infection Control for Care of Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection in a Healthcare Setting (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)]
* Stay informed
* Know the contact information for your local or state health department Link opens in separate window.

Endnotes

1. http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/ (April 27, 2009)
2. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
3. Nelson MI, Viboud C, Simonsen L, Bennett RT, Griesemer SB, et al. (2008) Multiple Reassortment Events in the Evolutionary History of H1N1 Influenza A Virus Since 1918. PLoS Pathog 4(2): e1000012. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000012 Pathogens (April 27, 2009)
4. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/flugallery/ (April 27, 2009)
5. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm (April 27, 2009)

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