PMID: 123933May 1, 1975Paper

Viral hepatitis as an occupational hazard of dentists

The Journal of the American Dental Association
J W Mosley, E White

Abstract

To estimate the risk of viral hepatitis for practicing dentists, a questionnaire survey was conducted in the greater Los Angeles area among the part-time faculty of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. An icteric episode diagnosed as hepatitis had been experienced by 11, representing 3.9% of the 285 dentists to whom questionnaires were mailed or 4.5% of the 242 respondents. All illnesses occurred after graduation from dental school, and five were after 1967. For general dentists, the minimal frequency was 2.7 (5 of 187 in the sample). Specialists with emphasis in surgical forms of dentistry had hepatitis with a significantly higher frequency: 3 of 19 oral surgeons; 1 of 13 periodontists; and 1 of 9 endodontists. The risk did not vary in this sample with the proportion of young adult patients (15 to 29 years of age) in the practice or recognizable illicit self-injection among patients. Auxiliary dental personnel seem to have a lower risk than dentists themselves. Measures to reduce the hazard are indicated, but at present these are confined to greater care in avoiding percutaneous introduction.

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