Asymptomatic carriage of SARS-CoV-2 is a potentially significant source of transmission, yet remains relatively poorly understood. The study "SARS-CoV-2 Positivity in Asymptomatic-screened Dental Patients" published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection in asymptomatic dental patients to inform community surveillance and improve understanding of risks in the dental setting.
Thirty-one dental care centers across Scotland invited asymptomatic screened patients over the age of five to participate. During the patient visit, trained dental teams took a combined oropharyngeal and nasal swab sample using standardized Viral Transport Medium containing test kits. Over a 13-week period, 4,032 patients were tested and of these 22 (0.5%; 95%CI 0.5%, 0.8%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The positivity rate increased over the period, commensurate with uptick in community prevalence identified across all national testing monitoring data streams. The COVID-19 positivity rate in this patient group reflected the underlying prevalence in the community at the time.
This surveillance program had several advantages including using trained dental teams for the collection of high quality and complete data and samples. Moreover, there was no need for the clinical teams to use additional personal protective equipment as they were already wearing it to provide dental care and the patients could receive care despite periods of lockdown restriction.
"Enhanced community surveillance is a key pillar of the public health response to COVID-19. The results of this study demonstrate the value in, and feasibility of, developing and implementing SARS-CoV-2 surveillance testing within dental settings," said JDR Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Jakubovics, Newcastle University, England. "These data are also a salient reminder of the importance of appropriate ongoing infection prevention control and personal protective equipment vigilance."
About the Journal of Dental Research
The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR) is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. The JDR ranks #3 in Impact Factor of 91 journals, #2 without self-citations, as well as #2 of 91 in Article Influence with a score of 1.627. The JDR's 5-year Impact Factor remained above 5 for the fifth year at 5.844 -- ranking #2 of 91 journals. With over 20,000 citations, the JDR also boasts the most citations in the "Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine" category, over 3,500 citations above the 2nd ranked journal in the field.
International Association for Dental Research
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, with a Mission to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being worldwide. To learn more, visit https://www.iadr.org. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR with 3,100 members in the United States. To learn more, visit https://www.iadr.org/aadr.