PureLife Dental’s compliance team is working closely with the CDC and will be hosting a Live Webinar with FREE CE on Friday 9/23 @ 12 pm Pacific (3 pm Eastern), in which we will present our findings, answer any compliance questions you may have, and then walk you through the CDC guidelines to help you protect your practice and the health of your patients.
The information provided to us at this time is as follows:
- Seven children have been hospitalized for bacterial infections resulting from “pulpotomies” where infected pulp is removed to prevent tooth loss.
- These children developed a bacterial infection of the mouth that can spread to the gum and bone if gone untreated, thus compromising the patient.
- According to our source, one of the children tested positive for Mycobacterium abscessus—a common and low-risk bacterium—but one which may present a serious issue if left in a dark, warm environment for long periods of time.
What is Mycobacterium abscessus?
According to the CDC, Mycobacterium abscessus is a bacterium distantly related to the bacteria that cause tuberculosis and leprosy. It is part of a group of environmental mycobacteria and is found in water, soil, and dust. It has been known to contaminate medications and products, including medical devices.
M. abscessus can cause a variety of infections. Healthcare-associated infections due to this bacterium are usually of the skin and the soft tissues under the skin. It is also a cause of serious lung infections in persons with various chronic lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. People with open wounds or who receive injections without appropriate skin disinfection may be at risk for infection by M. abscessus.
The CDC has published Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Health-Care settings, 2005, which clearly define the requirements for avoiding the transmission of this bacteria. We will be covering the main points from this guidance document along with other infection control practices every office should consistently practice.
Bacterial infections such as this are not uncommon in the dental or healthcare industry. Last year nine children were also hospitalized with M. abscessus infections from surgeries they had undergone from a dental clinic in Georgia. Symptoms prior to the diagnosis included persistent fever and swelling that doesn’t respond to treatment. Among the Orange County children with infections, symptoms started as early as 15 days and as late as 85 days following a procedure.
What can your practice do going forward?
It is important that you continue to inform your staff of these situations and maintain a level of awareness in your practice to these issues. We strongly recommend that a member from your office attends our webinar on Friday 9/16 at noon Pacific (3 pm Eastern) for a more in-depth presentation on these issues and how to avoid them.
- Peralta, Gianna, MPH, Melissa Tobin-D’Angelo, MD, Angie Parham, DVM, Laura Edison, DVM, Lauren Lorentzoson, MPH, Carol Smith, MSHA, and Cherie Drenzek, DVM. “Notes from the Field: Mycobacterium Abscessus Infections Among Patients of a Pediatric Dentistry Practice — Georgia, 2015.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
- “Mycobacterium Abscessus in Healthcare Settings.” Mycobacterium Abscessus in Healthcare Settings. Centers for Diease Control and Prevention, 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
- Perkes, Courtney. “7 Children Hospitalized after Treatment at Anaheim Dental Clinic, 500 More Could Be Affected.” The Orange County Register. The Orange County Register, 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
- Perkes, Courtney. “Family Denied Dental Records after 4-year-old Hospitalized for Infection.” The Orange County Register. The Orange County Register, 14 Sept. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016