OC children's dental clinic ordered closed after new bacteria find

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Children's Dental Group of Anaheim, which has had possibly dozens of young patients develop serious health problems because of infected water, has been ordered closed by Orange County officials.

Orange County's public health officer ordered the dental clinic closed after a new round of testing this week confirmed the continued presence of Mycobacterium even after the facility replaced its water system.

"This action was necessary in order to determine the actual source of the Mycobacterium since it has reappeared," said Dr. Eric Handler, Orange County's public health officer. "We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dental Board of California to determine what conditions are necessary to lift the order."

County health officials have logged 58 possible cases of hospitalized children ages 2-10 due to infection associated with the clinic, with 20 of those cases confirmed. The children underwent pulpotomy procedures, also known as "baby root canals."

The clinic replaced its water system earlier this year, but new tests found the bacteria is still present.

Reported health problems include a 6-year-old boy who lost much of his lower jaw and other patients who have struggled with recurring pain and infection.

At least one lawsuit has been filed against the clinic.

The Orange County Health Care Agency set a number of conditions for the clinic to reopen, including certification from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that there are no bacteria levels that pose a threat to patients.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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