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NIOSH report examines flu in dental practices

NIOSH has released a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) report that examined the danger of H1N1 flu transmission in two dental practices—one a general practice, the other a pediatric practice.

During a six-week period, beginning January 2010, NIOSH investigators visited each dental practice four times to collect air and surface samples.

No evidence of H1N1 was found, but seasonal flu was found in the pediatric practice, according to Environmental Assessment for the Presence of Influenza Viruses in Dental Practices [1].

Worker vaccination rates were low in both practices, which led NIOSH to make the following recommendations:

Concerning PPE, the HHE report cautions about relying on it as the sole method of protecting employees, as it is the least effective in preventing exposure.

The 40-page report also goes into detail on assessment methods for detecting seasonal and H1N1 flu in the air and on surfaces.