The Centers for Disease Control is investigating what it responsible for the deaths of several dentists and one dental assistant at an office in Virginia after they succumbed to an extremely rare lung disease over the last 15 years.
About 200,000 people in the U.S. have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, but the dentists at the center of this story were 23 time more likely to have the disease than the general population.
Investigators believe that something in their work environment may have caused the contraction of the disease, but they aren't positive that this is the case.
"More work has to be done before we can make any conclusions about the risk dentists or other dental personnel have," Randall J. Nett, lead author of the study and medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service, told CNN.
IPF does not have a cure, but adequate ventilation and wearing respirators during certain procedures can help decrease the chances dentists contract the disease.