Photo via Pixabay.
Photo via Pixabay.

The total of children hospitalized following one confirmed case of a bacterial infection stemming from an Anaheim dental clinic has risen to 10, an Orange County Healthcare Agency official said Thursday.

One child has been confirmed with contracting a “mycobacterial” dental infection following treatment at the Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim. Nine were considered “probable” cases of infection and were admitted to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, according to Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the agency.

It was not immediately clear if they all remained in the hospital, Good said.

State, federal  and county health and dental agencies were all investigating the bacterial infection outbreak.

“We’re waiting for culture results, which we’ll get next week” on the other cases, said Dr. Eric Handler of the Orange County Healthcare Agency.

“They presented with abscesses resistant to treatment, which could be consistent with bacterial infection,” Handler said of the probable cases.

Since May 3, about 500 children at the Children’s Dental Group received a “pulpotomy procedure,” which is done when infected pulp tissue of a tooth is treated or removed to prevent the loss of the tooth, Good said.

“The infection causes localized dental abscess, but may infect nearby bone,” Good said.

Patients are generally treated with an intravenous feed of antibiotics on site, Good said. Mycobacteria is common and usually pose “minimal risk,” Good said.

“In rare instances, water sources within a facility can become contaminated with higher levels of bacteria, increasing risk to patients receiving pulpotomies or other invasive procedures,” Good said. “There is no increases risk of infection to patients receiving routine, non-invasive procedures or to the general public.”

Children’s Dental Group is “cooperating fully” with the agency’s investigation, Good said. The dental group also has stopped performing the procedure.

The California Department of Public health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dental Board of California are also involved in the review of the infections, Good said.

“The Dental Board is investigating and we’re working with public health in Orange County,” said Joyia Emard, a spokeswoman for the organization. “At this point that is all we can say.”

A message left with Sam Gruenbaum, the chief executive of Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim, was not immediately returned.

–City News Service 

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