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Dentists Told to Look Out for Ebola Symptoms

Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The threat of Ebola in New Mexico is getting the attention of a lot of healthcare workers and now dentists. New guidelines have been released as to how dentists should handle patients. With hospitals tightening Ebola protocol, dentists are taking notice as well.

“We see people all the time that may be sick and may not be sick.” Dr. Robert Gherardi, an Albuquerque dentist, said they’re always looking at a patient’s health. “I think dentistry has always been a little more aware of those things than the typical medical office.”

The American Dental Association issued a resource list a few days ago.

“This is just maybe one more step, a little more heightened than we were,” Dr. Gherardi said.

Dr. Gherardi also explained that they will be asking more about travel history, if someone shows signs like a fever, coughing and body aches. With flu season fast approaching, anyone with those symptoms will likely be rescheduled.

“If there’s nothing pressing, we would rather reappoint them when they don’t have it,” Dr. Gherardi said.

An infectious disease consultant for the American Dental Association says the extra measures will be around for a while.

“I think people need to be rational, they need to be clinical, they need to be scientific and they need to be careful about unnecessary fear and paranoia,” Dr. John Molinari said. “Our chances of an Ebola patient coming into a dental office in New Mexico is pretty rare. Although, we have to be aware of it.”

When asking about a patient’s travel history, Dr. Gherardi said his staff will also ask about travel to Dallas. Thomas Duncan, who was visiting Dallas from Liberia, an Ebola-stricken country in West Africa, died of Ebola at a hospital there. Two nurses who treated him are now infected.

A lot of agencies are making changes to their policies when it comes to Ebola. The Albuquerque Fire Department is asking first responders to be extra cautious when dealing with someone showing signs of a fever.

Source: KRQE News

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