Infection Prevention and Control Update - C. difficile outbreak

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Posted Feb 25th, 2013 in News

The Niagara Health System today declared a C. difficile outbreak at the St. Catharines General Site’s Medical Unit, C3East.

Five patients on the unit have confirmed positive for hospital-associated C. difficile in the last two weeks. An outbreak is declared when the number of hospital-associated cases is higher than what is seen as the normal threshold. Under infection prevention and control protocols, this means the unit is considered to be in outbreak.

Four affected patients remain on the unit, and there have been no deaths associated with the outbreak. There are no other outbreaks at the NHS.

“The NHS team is working extremely hard to combat superbugs and bring an end to this outbreak as quickly as possible. Fighting superbugs is a reality for all hospitals and will always be a challenge. Strict infection prevention and control protocols remain in place at all of our sites, and we are in regular contact with Infectious Disease expert Dr. Michael Gardam to ensure we are doing all we can,” says Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff. “Our staff, physicians and volunteers are committed to ensuring patients continue to receive safe, quality care.”

Enhanced practices were put into place at all NHS sites in 2011 based on consultation with Dr. Gardam and other experts. These practices include heightened monitoring for C. difficile, increased housekeeping and nursing resources, increased hand hygiene audits, and an ongoing review of our use of antibiotics, which can be a factor in patients developing C. difficile.

Enteric outbreak declared over on Douglas Memorial Site’s first floor
Medical Unit

An enteric outbreak on the first floor Medical Unit at the Douglas Memorial Site has been declared over.

There were a total of nine cases of patients who exhibited signs and symptoms an enteric illness associated with the outbreak. Enteric viruses cause gastrointestinal illness. Symptoms are upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, low grade fever, and chills. The illness usually begins suddenly and the person may feel very sick. Symptoms last for 24 to 48 hours in a healthy individual, but it can take longer for some people.

The enteric outbreak was declared on Monday, February 11, 2013.

Everyone visiting any of our hospital sites is reminded to clean their hands regularly. Please do not visit if you are sick.

Media contact:
Rebecca Slavik, Communications Specialist, 905-378-4647, ext. 43879.

Niagara Health System