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J Oral Microbiol. 2012;4. doi: 10.3402/jom.v4i0.17659. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Healthcare-associated viral and bacterial infections in dentistry.

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1
Department of Preventive Dentistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Infection prevention in dentistry is an important topic that has gained more interest in recent years and guidelines for the prevention of cross-transmission are common practice in many countries. However, little is known about the real risks of cross-transmission, specifically in the dental healthcare setting. This paper evaluated the literature to determine the risk of cross-transmission and infection of viruses and bacteria that are of particular relevance in the dental practice environment. Facts from the literature on HSV, VZV, HIV, Hepatitis B, C and D viruses, Mycobacterium spp., Pseudomonas spp., Legionella spp. and multi-resistant bacteria are presented. There is evidence that Hepatitis B virus is a real threat for cross-infection in dentistry. Data for the transmission of, and infection with, other viruses or bacteria in dental practice are scarce. However, a number of cases are probably not acknowledged by patients, healthcare workers and authorities. Furthermore, cross-transmission in dentistry is under-reported in the literature. For the above reasons, the real risks of cross-transmission are likely to be higher. There is therefore a need for prospective longitudinal research in this area, to determine the real risks of cross-infection in dentistry. This will assist the adoption of effective hygiene procedures in dental practice.

KEYWORDS:

bacteria; cross-infection; cross-transmission; dentistry; healthcare-associated infections; viruses

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