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Risk assessment of colonization of legionella spp. in dental unit waterlines

By D Lauritano, M Nardone, R M Gaudio, V Candotto and F Carinci


The aerosol produced during the use of dental instruments can spread pathogens potentially harmful to health. Most of the pathogens found in hydraulic system are Gram-negative aerobic heterotrophic environmental bacterial species exhibiting very low pathogenicity, although they may be of concern in the treatment of vulnerable patients, such as immunocompromised, medically compromised individuals and dental team. Dental team can be exposed to pathogenic microorganisms including cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus and Legionella spp. Legionella spp. are ubiquitous in hydraulic system, in fact surveys have shown that the percentage of samples taken at different dental chairs that were positive for Legionella spp. and ranged from 0 to 100%. The concentration of Legionella spp. in hydraulic system may reach 1000 organisms per ml. The primary route of Legionella spp. transmission is inhalation or aspiration of environmentally contaminated aerosols. All dentists are required to conduct a statutory risk assessment of their hydraulic system, in fact to comply with their legal duties, dentists must identify and assess the sources of risk and prepare a scheme for preventing and controlling risks. Moreover, they must monitor the quality of their hydraulic system at least annually to ensure that they are "legionellae free"

Topics: biofilm, dental chair, dental infection control, legionella, oral pathogens
Year: 2017
OAI identifier: oai:iris.unife.it:11392/2383577
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