|Dr. John Molinari’sInfection Control Update|
|A recent article published in Lancet described the first documented instance of dental patient infection from waterlines used during treatment. Three different typing methods confirmed the clonal relation between Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1isolated from the dental handpiece water line and the patient’s bronchial aspirate patient.
This tragic case further reinforces the importance of ongoing efforts of the health care professions to implement and utilize effective infection control precautions during provision of patient care. Human infections caused by waterborne microorganisms such as Legionella pneumophila have been described over a number of years in municipal, personal, and health care environments. The maze of small bore plastic tubing that delivers water in a dental unit offers an optimal environment for the proliferation of complex microbial populations known collectively as biofilm. Fortunately a number of effective strategies are available to the profession for controlling the development and growth of waterborne organisms. When a complete infection control system is utilized to treat dental water, one can minimize or prevent organisms from attaching, colonizing, and proliferating on the inner surfaces of the tubing.