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C. difficile outbreak declared on unit at Greater Niagara General Site

Posted Dec 7th, 2011

NIAGARA, ON: The Niagara Health System today declared a C. difficile outbreak at the Greater Niagara General Site’s Unit D.

Three patients have confirmed positive for hospital-associated C. difficile on Unit D in the last week. Under newly established infection prevention and control protocols, this means Unit D is considered to be at the threshold required to declare an outbreak.

“Everyone is working extremely hard to follow best practice with our infection prevention and control protocols, and it is disappointing to be in outbreak on Unit D,” says Kim Stephens-Woods, Vice President Patient Services. “We are seeing an increasing number of C. difficile cases in the community and in the hospital. We have been in regular contact with infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam over the last several months, and we will continue to work with him to ensure we are doing everything possible to get out of this outbreak as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Gardam is the Director of Infection Prevention and Control for the University Health Network in Toronto and a recognized expert in Canada for infection prevention and control.

Dozens of ‘new normal’ practices were put into place at all NHS sites several months ago based on consultation with Dr. Gardam and other experts. The new normal includes close monitoring of any suspected C. difficile activity that would trigger specific steps as new cases are identified. This includes heightened monitoring for C. difficile, increased housekeeping and nursing resources, increased hand hygiene audits, and more.

C. difficile is a reality for all hospitals, and it is common for NHS to have patients with this illness at any given time. What is unusual is the ongoing and increasing number of people coming to the hospital with community-associated C. difficile.

“We are committed to going above and beyond with our infection prevention and control protocols to keep our patients, visitors and colleagues safe and healthy,” says Mrs. Stephens-Woods.

Niagara Health System