Dental Clinic Cleared to Use Water After Removing Source of Outbreak


Orange County, CA health officials say the dental practice has taken sufficient steps to resolve the contamination issue that sickened 57 children.

Health officials in Orange County, CA allowed an Anaheim children’s dental clinic at the center of a Mycobacterial abscessus outbreak to resume using its water on Tuesday.

The news, which was reported by the Orange County Register, came days after an attorney announced a class-action lawsuit representing the families of 57 children who became ill after receiving treatment at the Children’s Dental Group.

The source of the outbreak was traced to the practice’s water supply, which had somehow been contaminated. Practice staff were ordered to stop using the water on Sept. 15, the Register reported. According to a news release from the Orange County Health Care Agency, the practice has since addressed the issue to the agency’s satisfaction.

“Since the Order was served, Children’s Dental Group has been fully cooperative with the investigation, and in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a plan for remediation was approved,” said Eric Handler (MD, MPH), County Health Officer. “The on-site water system has been completely removed, replaced with new equipment, and the water from the new system has been tested to ensure it meets the standards established by the American Dental Association.”

The release from the agency also says that the practice will continue to monitor its water supply as well as take precautions to avoid further contamination. These precautions include “the use of a treatment designed to prevent bacteria from adhering to equipment as well as the installation of purification cartridges at every dental chair connected to the on-site water system.”

As previously reported by Dentist’s Money Digest, M. abscessus bacterium are typically found in dust, water, and soil, and are a common contaminator of medical devices. The bacteria can cause abscesses and infections of the skin, soft oral tissue, and bone. Infections typically require long courses of antibiotics to clear.

Since receiving treatment at the Children’s Dental Group, 57 children have become ill and have received treatment for mouth and neck abscesses that were the result of procedures such as pulpotomies.

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