About 30 dental centers across Scotland invited asymptomatic-screened patients ages 5 and older to participate. Approximately 4,000 people underwent oropharyngeal and nasal swab tests at the practices between August 3 and October 31, 2020.
Only 22 patients (0.5%) tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which was similar to the positivity rate in the community. The findings match those of a recent study in the U.S. that found the risk of COVID-19 among those seeking dental care mirrors local positivity rates.
The Journal of Dental Research study indicates that symptom-free patients likely are major drivers of transmission, the authors noted. The findings also show the importance of ongoing infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) vigilance at dental practices, especially when the number of cases increases in the community, and that dental settings are valuable sites for public health surveillance.
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