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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening. One travel-associated case was diagnosed in the United States on September 30, 2014. On October 12, 2014, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola. CDC confirms that the healthcare worker is positive for Ebola.

It is important that dental healthcare workers understand the science of Ebola, understand the level of risk in dentistry, review infection control policies and procedures and be prepared for any transmissible disease.

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Regulations & Guidelines


(1) CDC response to question: Can I provide dental services to someone who has recently been in West Africa?
CDC works with partners at ports of entry into the United States to help prevent infectious diseases, like Ebola, from being introduced and spread in the United States.

A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. Signs and symptoms of Ebola include fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F) and severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

The virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or, in general, by food.
Dental providers should continue to follow standard infection control protocols.

(2) Resources to protect healthcare personnel

(3) Workplace Safety & Health Page by CDC's National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) That Addresses Ebola

(4) Case Definition for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)


(1) Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Care of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Filovirus Haemorrhagic Fever in Health-Care Settings, with Focus on Ebola


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Best Practices
Key Learnings as of October 2014

What does this emerging disease mean to dentistry?

With the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the US, all healthcare workers, including dental healthcare workers, should stay on top of the Ebola situation by keeping abreast of the latest news developments that have the potential to impact current issues in infection prevention and patient safety. Additionally, all US healthcare workers should be on the alert for signs and symptoms of EVD in patients with compatible illness who have a recent (within 21 days) travel history to countries where the outbreak is occurring, and should consider isolation of those patients meeting these criteria, pending diagnostic testing.

Related Articles
Dr. Mike Osterholm, OSAP's keynote speaker for the 2014 infection control symposium, advances two possible scenarios on the spread of EVD and options in a New York Times editorial on September 11.

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Facts About Ebola

Questions and Answers on Ebola

Safe Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals

Fact Sheet

(2) World Health Organization

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Frequently asked questions on Ebola virus disease


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Instructional Resources
Infographics and Video

(1) Facts About Ebola Infographic

(2) Stopping the Ebola Outbreak Infographic

(3) CDC Expert Commentary Video from Dr. David Kuhar, August 20, 2014

(4) Time Warner Video on Ebola, August 28, 2014 (note: brief commercial precedes video)

(5) Current Geographic Distribution of Cases

Image Library

(1) Ebolavirus Ecology

Images from CDC


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Patient Resources

CDC's travel notice

CDC Feature

(1) Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

Up-to-date information for the general public in English, Spanish and Arabic


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