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India - Mumbai - Swine flu fear hits dentists

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  • India - Mumbai - Swine flu fear hits dentists

    Swine flu fear hits dentists
    By: Kranti Vibhute Date: 2009-08-16 Place: Mumbai

    Hand out painkillers instead; say they can't risk their, patients' or staff lives

    It's a hygiene hazard but now fearing that it may be deadly too, dentists in the city are putting off planned dental surgeries for patients with flu symptoms fearing that they may be victims of the dreaded H1N1 virus.
    Since the flu is an airborne disease, most dentists in Mumbai have decided to postpone surgical treatment to their patients and give them painkillers for temporary relief. Pune dentists too have shut their clinics. A programme at one of the resorts on the Mumbai Ahmedabad highway conducted by the Indian Dental Association also had to be called off.

    Dr Vijay Tamhane, a practising dental surgeon at Chinchwad, Pune said, "Most dentists in Pune have shut their clinics. It's very risky to carry any surgical treatment that can easily affect us or our staff." Dr Rajendra K Sankpal, dentist and implantologist from Powai, said, "There is a high risk. I give patients painkillers instead."

    Secretary of the Indian Dental Association, Dr Sharif Feroz, said, "Everyone is sending smses to take additional precautions while treating patients."

    WHO information

    The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned dentists to take precautions to protect themselves, their patients and staff. In a report, the CDC states that the primary infection control goal of dentists was to prevent transmission of disease. The spread of cold and flu viruses through a family can occur via toothbrush/tooth paste contamination. Each member of the family should have their own tube of toothpaste, just like they have their own toothbrush. After an episode of cold or flu, the toothbrush and toothpaste should be changed.