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Council on Dental Practice provides guidance during measles outbreak

May 31, 2019

By David Burger

Photo of Dr. Liddell
Dr. Liddell
As news stories proliferate about the increasing number of people across the country contracting measles, the ADA Council on Dental Practice is making it easy for dentists to access helpful resources about both infectious disease and workplace liability.

"Measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases," said Dr. Rudy Liddell, Council on Dental Practice vice chair. "Transmission can happen in any setting, including health care facilities. The council is very concerned about the health and well-being of patients and dental professionals during this rise of measles. We've responded by developing resources that answer frequently asked questions and provide direct links to credible resources. "

As of May 30, more than 940 measles cases have been reported in 2019 in the U.S. – the nation's largest measles outbreak since 1994 – and a majority of the people infected were unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The CDC recommends that health care providers ask patients to confirm their vaccination status by providing written documentation," Dr. Liddell said. "Good rules of thumb are to isolate infected people from other patients and staff; follow the appropriate airborne precautions; and to have staff use appropriate respiratory protection. It's also important to always report suspected measles cases to the local health department immediately."

The council's measles FAQ can be accessed online at Success.ADA.org. Many of the resources link to and emphasize recommendations from the CDC.

This information complements the May 9 statement issued by the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs which offers guidelines to dentists on dealing with the complicated ethics of the outbreak. Read the statement published in the May 20 issue of the ADA News.

The council has also issued a second FAQ to provide information and resources about Candida auris, which the CDC describes on its website as "an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat." That resource may be found at  Success.ADA.org.

For more information, contact the Center for Dental Practice at dentalpractice@ada.org or 1-312-440-2895.