Dentist Infection Control

Florida Infection Control Consulting Services Blog

Oct 19, 2016

Dental Infection Control Special Report: Pulpotomy, Mycobacteria in Children

Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), a Florida-based provider of expert infection prevention services to dental clinics, surgery centers and other healthcare organizations, has published a new special report concerning dental infection control and prevention practices.

The report examines recent outbreaks of Mycobacterium abscessus odontogenic infections in children following pulpotomy procedures (child root canal).

As the report notes, "... the water that was used during the pulpotomy treatment allowed bacteria growing in the water to be trapped in the tooth when it was capped after the procedure was completed. ... Dental waterlines are a challenge as bacteria grow biofilm which adheres to the plastic tubes and is very difficult to eradicate."

Read the ICCS special report on dental infection prevention.

Aug 22, 2016

Zika Virus Spreads to Miami Beach, Prompting Warnings

As the fear of Zika virus infections continues to plague Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on August 19 that "pregnant women should not travel to an area of Miami Beach where local Zika virus transmission has been confirmed."

This is the second area in Miami that has been identified as being "at risk" for active transmission of the virus. The Florida Department of Health announced that five locally transmitted cases have been confirmed as connected to the Miami Beach area.

The CDC further advised that the sexual partners of pregnant women refrain from visiting the area. Pregnant women are at the highest risk due to identification of birth defects in babies born to mothers who have contracted the illness. As Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director, states, "The risk is low, but the outcome is so horrific, you really want to try to avoid it."

Florida Governor Rick Scott noted, "There are 36 locally transmitted cases of the virus and 20.6 million people living in the state," requesting that the public put this issue in perspective. 

The CDC is aiding Florida with test and prevention kits to assist with transmission identification and prevention.

Aug 2, 2016

CDC Issues Travel Warning for Miami's Wynwood Neighborhood Due to Zika Outbreak

Following the identification of a neighborhood in Miami with local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Health Advisory recommending that pregnant women avoid traveling to the area.

The neighborhood is Wynwood, located north of downtown Miami and Overtown, and adjacent to Edgewater.

As news reports note, this is the first time the CDC has warned people to avoid traveling to an American neighborhood due to the risk of catching an infectious disease.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and severe fetal brain defects. It has also been associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

On July 29, the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) confirmed Florida's first local transmissions of the Zika virus in four individuals in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Other CDC recommendations include the following:
  • Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to the area with active Zika virus transmission identified by the FL DOH should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Women and men who live in or who have traveled to the Miami area with active Zika virus transmission and who have a pregnant sex partner should consistently and correctly use condoms or other barriers to prevent infection during sex or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.


Jul 20, 2016

Florida DOH Investigating Possible Non-Travel Related Case of Zika

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has announced it is conducting an investigation into a possible non-travel related case of Zika virus in Miami-Dade County.

If confirmed, this would be the first reported non-travel associated case. As of July 13, there more than 1,300 travel-associated cases reported in U.S. states.

As news reports note, the Florida DOH is considering all known routes of transmission, including the possibility that it still could be travel related.

For a roundup of some of other the most significant Zika news from the past week, read this Zika update.


Jun 28, 2016

Florida DOH Confirms State's First Zika-Related Case of Microcephaly

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first Zika virus-related case of microcephaly in a child born in Florida.

Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly. This could contribute to a wide range of problems, including developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems.

The mother of the child with microcephaly isa citizen of Haiti who had a travel-related case of Zika. She came to Florida to deliver her baby.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken the Zika threat very seriously. In February, he directed the state surgeon general to issue a declaration of public health emergency for the counties of residents with travel-associated cases of Zika and activate a Zika virus information hotline for current Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning on traveling to Florida in the near future.

Just last week, Scott announced he would use his emergency executive authority to allocate more than $26 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida.

Florida has been monitoring pregnant women with evidence of Zika regardless of symptoms since January. The total number of pregnant women who have been monitored is 40, with 10 having met the previous Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition.

Feb 5, 2016

Florida Gov. Scott Declares Zika Virus Emergency in Multiple Counties

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency in five Florida counties due to the Zika virus.

The counties, as of February 5, are as follows:
  • Broward
  • Miami-Dade
  • Hillsborough
  • Lee
  • Santa Rosa

To date, Florida has confirmed nine travel-related cases of the Zika virus, none of which have been pregnant women.

Zika is spread to people through mosquito bites. This is the same mosquito — from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions — that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Aedes mosquitos are common in Florida.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. They usually last 2-7 days. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. However, an outbreak in South America has led to reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

Gov. Scott has requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide at least 1,000 Zika antibody tests (Florida currently has the capacity to test only 475 people.) The antibody test allows the state to see if individuals ever had the Zika virus. Gov. Scott has also requested that the CDC conduct a conference call to help train Florida hospital workers — especially OB/GYN physicians and those who work with pregnant women — on how Zika is spread, its symptoms, treatments and proper precautions.

No vaccine exists to prevent Zika. The best method of prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. Help reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.

Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected Zika cases to their state health department to facilitate diagnosis and mitigate risk of local transmission.

Phenelle Segal of Florida-based Infection Control Consulting Services provides infection control and infection prevention education and services to a variety of healthcare facilities and organizations including, but not limited, to hospitals and health systems, ambulatory surgery centers, physicians practices, dentists and nursing homes. Services include accreditation survey preparation, infection prevention risk assessment, development of infection prevention programs, infection prevention training and much more. Contact Phenelle Segal by clicking here.

Dec 21, 2015

Florida Hospitals Payments Penalized for Hospital-Acquired Conditions

Hospitals have been closely scrutinized as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program.

Beginning in fiscal year 2015, the program directed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reduces hospital payments by 1 percent for facilities that rank amongst the lowest performing 25 percent with respect to specific HACs.

The program's specific patient safety measures concern the following healthcare-associated infections (HAIs):
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI);
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI);
  • Surgical site infections (colon surgeries and abdominal hysterectomies) (2016 addition);
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (2017 addition); and
  • Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) (2017 addition).
According to a Miami Herald report, 758 hospitals nationwide will be subjected to a 1 percent reduction in their Medicare payments for the federal fiscal year that runs through September 2016 (in fiscal year 2015, 724 hospitals were subject to a payment reduction). This includes seven South Florida hospitals.

While the goal of this program, including the reduction of payments, is to create improvement in patient safety and quality, hospitals that treat the sickest and therefore the riskiest patients will be penalized as an unintended consequence. The public needs to be cautious when interpreting the information while bearing in mind that hospitals are making the effort to reduce HAIs and progress occurs over time.

It is imperative for hospitals to remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent and reduce HACs and HAIs. These efforts should include use of an infection prevention risk assessment, conducting ongoing infection control education and always following proper safety guidelines and recommendations.