Dental Tribune Pakistan

Corona Virus: Everything a Dental Professional Should Know

By Dr Muattar Hanif
January 29, 2020

With the recent surge of Novel Corona Virus in China, new developments are updated from all over the world. The contagious and potentially deadly illness is grabbing headlines worldwide. Each passing day brings new reports of human infections. The World Health Organization recently updated that 4537 cases has been reported only in China.

The new corona virus strain, first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS-Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Scientists have scrambled to determine the mode of transmission, with a seafood market in Wuhan believed to be the center of the outbreak.

What is this virus?

It’s a new type of corona virus , 2019-nCoV that scientists have not seen before. Corona viruses circulate in a variety of animals, including humans. Some types can cause common colds. Others have evolved into severe illnesses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

What is the mode of transmission of this virus?

Recent evidences are highly suggestive that this is a zoonotic disease and primary causes of infections in human are through contact with infected animals and animal products.

  • Infected animal (alive or dead) to animal transfer
  • Infected person to person transmission
  • Infected animal to person

How does the clinical picture looks like?

Though limited information is available to characterize the symptoms of clinical illness associated with the virus, the observed signs include fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Chest radiographs show invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs.

Are there any treatment options available?

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines or specific treatment options available for 2019-nCoV infection. Currently patients are just given supportive care.

How to manage the risks in general dental practice?

According to the WHO guidelines:

  • Follow the same protocol as taken for seasonal influenza
  • Ensure the standard precautions including hand and respiratory hygiene are being taken by using personal protective equipment
  • Cover nose and mouth with a mask/tissue during examination of suspected persons
  • Ensure hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs

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