About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Visit to Dentist Resulted in First Case of Legionnaire's Disease

by Kathy Jones on February 17, 2012 at 8:57 PM
Font : A-A+

 Visit to Dentist Resulted in First Case of Legionnaire's Disease

The first known case of Legionnaire's disease that was caused by a visit to the dentist has been reported by doctors. Legionnaire's disease is a rare infection usually linked to faulty air conditioning and hot-water systems.

The case report, published in The Lancet, describes an unnamed 82-year-old woman in Rome who was hospitalised with fever and breathing problems in February 2011.

Advertisement

Swiftly diagnosed with infection by the Legionella pneumophila germ, she died two days later of septic shock despite being given heavy doses of antibiotics.

During the two- to 10-day time it would have taken for the bacteria to incubate, the patient had only left her house twice, both times to attend appointments at the dentist.
Advertisement

Samples of water were taken from the dentist's tap, from the waterline -- the tube that supplies water to tooth scalers and handpieces used by the dentist -- and from the high-pressure pump supplying the waterline itself.

All three sources tested positive for L. pneumophila, but especially in water taken from the pump.

Genetic sequencing found that the germs there matched the bacteria which killed the patient. The bug turned out to be a particularly virulent sub-strain called Benidorm.

After cleaning with hydrogen peroxide solution and bleach, the water unit was free of contamination.

The case is unusual, as outbreaks of Legionnaire's disease are generally caused by air-conditioning systems, hot-water systems, spas and fountains that are not properly cleaned or maintained.

Warm temperatures and periods of water immobility provide a breeding ground for the bacteria. Distributed in fine droplets by a spray, the bacteria are then breathed in. Elderly people or individuals with poor immune systems are those most at risk.

Previous research has shown that dental waterlines can be contaminated by the germ, but this is the first known case where illness has occurred.

"As far as we are aware, no case of Legionnaire's disease has been associated with this source of infection," says the report, headed by Maria Luisa Ricci at the Istituta Superiore de Sanita in Rome.

"The case here shows that the disease can be acquired from a dental unit waterline during routine dental treatment. Aerosolised water from high-speed turbine instruments was most likely the source of the infection."

The case report puts down a series of recommendations, including use of filters, continuous circulation of disinfected water and using sterile water instead of tap water.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Dental Check-Up 

Recommended Reading
Toothache
Toothache or pain in the tooth is one of the most dreaded and bothersome symptom and those who have ...
Tooth Discoloration
Tooth discoloration or staining is caused commonly due to smoking, some medicines and poor dental .....
Dental Check-Up
It is commonly recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year to clean your teeth and gums and ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use