The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an unusual cluster of deaths related to a lung disease in dentists.
The disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It can be treated but not cured. And for some reason, one Virginia treatment center found dentists and dental technicians sought treatment for the disease at a rate 23 times higher than the rest of the population.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis causes scarring in the lung tissue. That scarring gets worse as time goes on, and eventually the lungs can't take in enough oxygen.
Dentists and dental technicians are exposed to a lot of infectious agents, toxic substances and human bioproducts. But the CDC isn't really sure what's causing them to get the disease.