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November 13, 1991

The Mechanism of HIV Infection in Patients of the Florida Dentist

Author Affiliations

University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

JAMA. 1991;266(18):2559. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470180059022

To the Editor.  —The CDC "Update on Transmission of HIV Infection During Invasive Dental Procedures—Florida"1 outlined the available data on this outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in six patients of a Florida dentist who died of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Each patient had undergone invasive dental procedures, and it was stated that in each instance the dentist wore a mask and gloves. No exchange of blood from needlesticks or cuts could be documented in any case. The epidemiological and molecular biological evidence in five of the six cases strongly supports the notion that the infection in these five cases was transmitted from the infected dentist. However, it is unclear how this could have occurred.I would like to propose a possible mode of transmission. Since the causative agent of AIDS can be identified in infected individuals in all body secretions, including tears, saliva, and sweat, is it