Background In this study, the authors compared the odds of exposure to Legionella pneumophila among currently active dental practitioners with that of nonpractitioners and evaluated demographic and clinical practice predictors of exposure. Methods The authors obtained demographic characteristics and dental practice behaviors from participants in the annual American Dental Association Health Screening Program survey administered from 2002 through 2012. The authors assayed serum samples obtained from participants for L pneumophila antibodies. The authors used an adjusted logit model to evaluate predictors of positive results. Results Among 5,431 participants, approximately 10% were positive for L pneumophila, with no significant differences between dental practitioners and nonpractitioners. Geographic location was the only significant predictor of seropositivity, with no increased risk of being exposed to L pneumophila associated with age, race, sex, years in practice, hours of practice per week, use of barrier protection, or infection control practices. Conclusions Prevalence of L pneumophila antibodies was 10.4% among dental and nondental personnel. US Census division was the only significant predictor of seropositivity. The authors conclude that provision of dental care did not increase the risk of being exposed to Legionella. Practical Implications Dentists should be aware of the prevalence of Legionella species in their practice areas to understand their personal risk of developing an infection.
Estrich, C. G., Gruninger, S. E., & Lipman, R. D. (2017). Rates and predictors of exposure to Legionella pneumophila in the United States among dental practitioners: 2002 through 2012. Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(3), 164–171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2016.11.032