The Zika virus is primarily a fever spread through mosquito bites that give sufferers symptoms of red eyes, rash, pain, and of course, fever.
Some have reported a contraction through sexual activity as well.
This virus is especially dangerous for pregnant or expecting-to-become pregnant women.
As of now, the Zika virus is still spreading, commonly found in areas where mosquitoes are especially present such as Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, typically being a huge problem in the summer months.
The current epidemic began in May of 2015; however, the issue has yet to be resolved and can very well still be contracted. Since then, 600 cases and counting have been discovered just in the United States alone with victims in over a thousand found in U.S. territories including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The Zika Virus Spread in Dental Settings:
The whole point of us emphasizing the Zika virus is to warn others that this virus is not yet “gone” and that other ways of contract besides getting bit by a mosquito are problems for concern. For example, the Zika virus can be spread in a dental (or even a medical) setting.
The use of dental tools without thoroughly washing them before using them on another patient can very well cause the transmission of the virus from an infected Zika patient to a healthy patient. We know that often when our dentists or hygienists are cleaning and scraping plaque and tartar off of our teeth that it’s not uncommon to accidentally have our gums slightly scraped or cut, especially for those with weaker gums.
This is the very instance that could cause the transmission of the Zika virus, that is if the proper sanitation of tools is not put into place. However, dental professionals are thoroughly advised of the regulations they should be following in the dental setting in aims to prevent the distribution of contagious illnesses and contractible diseases such as the Zika Virus. Here at Ho’ala Dental Plan, our dentists and other dental professionals are strict in following these regulations and ensure dental tools and devices are thoroughly disinfected and cleaned before every use.
Can the virus be contracted through saliva?
Right now, it’s not known if saliva is one of the means of transportation of the Zika virus from one to another. Later phases of the disease, however, may have Zika virus RNA present in saliva with the possibility of transfer, but again, it is not known if this is possible.
However, either way, you can be ensured that Ho’ala Dental complies with the rules and regulations regarding a sterile, sanitized environment, especially when it comes to the appliances and gadgets our dental professionals use on our patients. Safety always comes first with us.
If I have the Zika virus, should I delay my dental appointments?
No, attending the dentist is vital at least once or twice a year to ensure your oral health is in order. However, it’s important to seek the professional medical care if you have contracted the Zika virus. Also, tell your dentist and hygienist regarding your Zika virus to ensure extra precautions take place during your dental visit.