Infection prevention and control advice – Part 2

We continue the second part of this two-part series focusing on dental infection prevention and patient and provider safety. Dr. Teresa J. Irizarry and Dr. Ana López Fuentes, who help oversee infection control protocol at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus’ dental clinic, discuss infection control protocol changes, who is ultimately responsible for infection control and whether anything will change because of Monkeypox.

Dental Infection Control Awareness Month: Commitment to safety

September not only marks the beginning of cooler weather and fall fashion but also Dental Infection Control Awareness Month.

Each year the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention dedicates this month to providing the dental community with information and materials to stay current with the latest dental infection control guidelines and to ensure every dental visit is safe. This year OSAP is focusing on hand hygiene, dental unit waterlines, PPE and instrument reprocessing.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what can happen when underestimating the power of microorganisms or protein entities to facilitate the spread of a virus or disease. Patients and the dental team should both feel protected from risks of disease transmission. This comes from adequate knowledge about current infection control and safety practices.

Traveling this summer? Beware of Zika

Zika virus For most of us, mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest. But in other countries, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue, chikungunya or malaria. Best case scenario, you’ll win some general itchiness. Fortunately, for us living here in the United States, our minds rest easy knowing that the risks of catching any mosquito-borne disease are slim. First-world luxuries such as air conditioning and screened windows can prevent mosquito infestations. Most U.S. streets lack standing pools of water, the beloved nests of mosquito larvae, and when the threat of being bitten is imminent, we liberally spray plumes of OFF! mosquito repellent.

Yet, recently, our mosquito concerns have amplified. On May 31, 2016, a child was born in a New Jersey hospital with Zika virus-related microcephaly.

Student research: Regulation of ltgA in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

research-spotlight-thumbnailIn today’s Student Research Spotlight, a predental member explains her research into Gonorrheal DNA enzymes.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae are gram-negative bacteria that can be transmitted sexually or during childbirth, leading to infections of the genitals, rectum and throat. Although gonorrhea is a treatable disease, many people are asymptomatic and go undiagnosed. If left untreated, gonorrhea can result in infertility. Recently, the development of antibiotic resistant strains has become an increasing public health concern. Research teams are focused on learning more about the bacteria so that new antibiotics can be developed.

Should the fist bump replace the handshake?

fist bumpAn article about fist bumps. Trust me, I never thought I would be writing this either. But the other day a friend of mine really got me thinking about this topic. Does the handshake have an expiration date? Bold statement, I know. And if my 26 years of schooling has taught me anything, it’s to not make a statement unless you can back it up.

Mela and Whitworth, in the August 2014 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, published a study comparing the hygienic effects of the handshake, the high five and the fist bump. I would have loved to have been there for that grant proposal. The study finds that the fist bump had significantly less bacterial transfer than did the handshake or even the high five.