Falling a victim of infections can cause very serious problems and even life threatening diseases, even if you visit the best dental clinics and dental offices. Earlier this month, an 82-year-old Italian woman caught a severe type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease, which, according to the investigation of the experts, came from the water in her dentist’s office. The findings about the case were recently published in the Lancet magazine.
It turned out that during the incubation period, the old lady who found herself suffering from this serious form of pneumonia, left her house only twice, to visit her dental specialist. The tests of dental water used in that very office, as well as in other dental offices of major Italian cities have shown that water lines carry a great deal of very dangerous bacteria and infections. It is considered that the most common sources of infections include public eating places and air conditioning systems, the experts call for checking out water line as a possible source of infections and bacteria.
The woman was diagnosed with the disease caused by Legionella pneumophil, the bacterial strain that commonly found in water line and that causes Legionnaires’ disease. However, according to Maria Luisa Ricci of the Italian National Health Service, there is something unclear about this situation. “As far as we are aware, no case of Legionnaires’ disease has been associated with this source of infection,” she said. That is why the American Dental Association (ADA) specialists were involved in this investigation, as well as formulating new strategies and new policies regarding launching new infection control standards.
“Since the ADA convened a special task force in the mid-1990s focusing on infection prevention, there have been a number of recommendations made to treat the water and keep the number of bacteria down,” an Italian expert says. The ADA recommend Italian dentists control chemical content of line water that is used in their dental offices much more closely in order to avoid possible infections and serious diseases. It is also recommended to avoid using bad quality municipal line water and install special water reservoirs filled with filtered water free of harmful elements and bacteria.
Legionella pneumophil is the bacteria that can be found not only in line water, but in other places as well. “Legionella is found in old homes, shower heads and anywhere else there can be stagnant water,” said John Molinari, the ADA’s spokesman on infection control. Fortunately, it is reported that dental specialists in most of the countries do take precautions as to the water they use in their dental offices. However, Italian specialists should pay more attention to the issue, the experts say.