Practice Closed After New Tests Reveal More Mycobacterium

Dentistry Today


The Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim has been closed after the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) found Mycobacterium in multiple samples taken from the practice’s new water system. The agency ordered the installation of the water system after the office’s previous setup had tested positive for Mycobacterium as well.

The earlier Mycobacterium outbreak lead to 20 confirmed and 38 probable cases all involving children between the ages of 2 and 10 years. The children had been treated for pulpotomies between March 1, 2016, and August 11, 2016, and all 58 eventually required hospitalization to treat the infection via intravenous antibiotics and even surgery in some cases at some point. 

“This action was necessary to determine the actual source of the Mycobacterium since it has reappeared,” said Dr. Eric Handler, Public Health Officer. “We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Dental Board of California to determine what conditions are necessary to lift the order.”

The HCA also is working with the CDC and Dental Board of California to determine the source of the Mycobacterium. In collaboration with the Children’s Dental Group, the HCA is taking the lead on following up with parents whose children have had pulpotomies since the previous Health Officer Order to close was lifted on November 7, 2016, and the practice reopened. The HCA further notes that the practice has been fully cooperative with the investigation.

California Health and Safety Code Sections 120130 and 120175 and California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 2501, requires the County Health Officer or designee(s) to take whatever steps deemed necessary for the investigation and control of infectious or communicable disease. The new order will be lifted when the County Health Officer believes the following conditions have been met:

  • The clinic shall cooperate fully with the Health Officer Order;
  • The clinic shall implement additional measures necessary to identify and remove any and all ongoing sources of bacteria or potentially posing a risk to the public, including patients;
  • Certification by the Dental Board of California that the clinic’s practices meet the Dental Board’s accepted standards of practice;
  • Certification by the CDC that there are no bacterial levels at the clinic that pose or potentially pose a risk to the public, including patients;
  • A health officer-approved independent expert, in addition to the CDC, certifies that there are no bacterial levels at the clinic that pose or potentially pose a risk to the public, including patients.

The HCA has posted a list of frequently asked questions in both English and Spanish on its website. Also, parents who have concerns about the care their children received at the facility are invited to file a written report with the Dental Board of California.

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