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 FAQ - Diseases and Disease Agents - Archived Through 2012

 

 

We have had some recent cases of patients labeled MRSA at our facility. Are Standard Procedures sufficient to properly care for these patients? Any information would be appreciated.     

OSAP is not aware of special infection control practices for dentistry, in the United States, with regard to MRSA. 

CDC's Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings (December 2003) does not specifically address MRSA. However, dental healthcare workers should always practice Standard Precautions. Standard Precautions integrate and expand the elements of universal precautions into a standard of care designed to protect healthcare providers and patients from pathogens that can be spread by blood or any other body fluid, excretion, or secretion. (1)  
In addition to standard precautions, other measures (e.g. expanded or transmission-based precautions might be necessary to prevent potential spread of certain diseases that are transmitted through airborne, droplet, or contact transmission. (1)  

The main mode of transmission of MRSA is via hands which may become contaminated by contact with colonized or infected patients; colonized or infected body sites of the personnel themselves; devices, items, or environmental surfaces contaminated with body fluids containing MRSA. Standard Precautions (e.g. proper handwashing; gloves; mask; gown; eyewear; careful handling of all sharps; appropriate care, handling, disinfection of equipment, and sterilization of instruments, etc.) should control the spread of MRSA in most instances (2)  

For specific dental related concerns about MRSA patients, the dentist should consult with the patient's physician (physician treating the MRSA patient) prior to dental care.  
Resources:  
1) CDC's Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings (December 2003) may be 
viewed at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm 2) CDC's Issues In Healthcare Settings: MRSA (A great deal of information on MRSA may be 
viewed in CDC's Issues In Healthcare Settings)
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/hip/ARESIST/mrsa.htm  

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