As of August 5, 2022, the CDC reported that more than 7,500 Americans have been diagnosed with monkeypox (figure includes cases offered independently by New York State officials). According to experts, however, this number may be grossly underreported with biologist Joseph Osmundson of New York University suggesting that the U.S. has “dropped the ball” in terms of broad testing of the virus.
Compounding the problem of underreporting is the confusion over how monkeypox is transmitted with most reports suggesting that sexual contact is the means.
However, Beverly Hills, California periodontist Mahnaz Rashti, DDS, is warning her patients and the general public that monkeypox can be spread in a subtler manner — by kissing.
“Many of my patients believe that they are in the clear because they are refraining from having sexual contact with unfamiliar partners, but most do not know that monkeypox can be spread by kissing — especially intimate kissing,” says Rashti. “Dental professionals, particularly in the regions in the country hardest hit by the virus, are seeing more and more patients exhibiting oral lesions — one of the less commonly known symptoms of monkeypox. We are trying to spread the word that this virus is more easily transmitted than originally stated.”
The early signs of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and/or swollen lymph nodes, which many people dismiss as common flu symptoms. That period is followed or accompanied by the development of lesions on various parts of the body including oral lesions.
Rashti is warning her patients and the general public to be aware of this form of transmission and take appropriate precautions. The CDC recently urged health care providers in the U.S. to “be alert for patients who have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
In addition to warning the public about kissing, Rashti has taken special precautions at her office including a thorough inspection of patients’ mouths for signs of lesions, screening patients and employees for early symptoms, wearing protective personal protective equipment (PPE) and monitoring incidents of monkeypox in the local community. She is recommending that her colleagues in the field take similar precautions.
Mahnaz Rashti, D.D.S. has maintained a practice in the center of Beverly Hills since 1994. She is a graduate of the College of Dentistry of New York University and completed her 5-year residency at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, where she treated medically compromised patients suffering from cancer, smoking-related illnesses and other life-threatening conditions. This led her to become a full-mouth reconstruction specialist where she conducted the most intense and life-changing work of her career involving patients who lost parts of their faces in combat. She also established her own nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans in need, children being bullied, survivors of domestic abuse and others who don’t have the finances for dental work. Her practice is a family affair with her husband, Fred, who manages the business operations for the practice and their son Benjamin and daughter Rebecca who help with social media and other day to day duties. It is located at 9735 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 307, Beverly Hills. Contact 310-623-3330 or visit DrRashti.com for more information.
Beverly Hills Smiles Dental Group
9735 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 307
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