Sunday, February 19, 2012

First case of Legionnaire's disease found at a dentist

Doctors on Friday reported the first known case of Legionnaire's disease, a rare infection usually linked to faulty air conditioning and hot-water systems, that was caused by a visit to the dentist.

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.

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.

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. Read More