Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Prompted by claims from attorneys that Anaheim’s water supply played a part in multiple bacterial infections at a local dental clinic last year, city officials sought Wednesday to assure the public its water quality exceeds state and federal standards.

“We have every confidence in our water, and (the public) should be confident in their water, as well,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said.

City officials denied that the municipality’s water supply was an issue in the case involving Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim, where dozens of youngsters were affected by a bacterial outbreak.

Of the 68 reports to date, 22 cases have been confirmed and 46 are listed as probable, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. All of those children were hospitalized at some point.

The age range of the affected patients is 2 to 11 years old, according to the agency. All of the cases were reported between Feb. 4 through Aug. 26 of last year.

The city of Anaheim has received a total of 58 claims, Lyster said, adding, “We expect to receive more.”

None of the claims — normally a precursor to a lawsuit — have been rejected so far.

“Our hearts go out to the kids and families who visited Children’s Dental,” Lyster said. “No one should have to go through what they have. But we have no reason to doubt the OC Health Care Agency’s determination that the likely source of infection was the internal dental water system.”

The city conducts 44,000 tests of its water supply annually, Lyster said. Officials test the water at 51 sampling sites throughout the city, including two near the shuttered Children’s Dental office, he said.

There have been no reports of issues with bacteria in the water delivered to the dental office either before or after the outbreak, Lyster said.

The county’s public health officer, Dr. Eric Handler, ordered a second shutdown of the Children’s Dental Group in mid-December when tests showed bacteria was still in the office’s water system, even though it had been recently replaced.

In mid-September, Handler had ordered the dental office to stop doing pulpotomy procedures, which led to the infections, until the water processing system could be replaced. The ban was lifted Nov. 7 when that work was done, but subsequent tests showed there was mycobacterium in the office’s internal water system, according to Handler.

—City News Service

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