Special to Bullet News
The Niagara Health System Friday declared a C. difficile outbreak at the St. Catharines General Site’s Oncology Medical/Palliative Unit.
Five patients on the unit have confirmed positive for hospital-associated C. difficile in the last two weeks. Under our 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 C. difficile outbreaks at the NHS.
“We have stringent infection prevention and control protocols at all of our sites, and our doctors, staff and volunteers work extremely hard to follow these best practices,” said Dr. Joanna Hope, interim chief of staff. “We are doing everything we can to get out of this outbreak as quickly as possible.”
NHS is in regular contact with infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam. He is director of infection prevention and control for the University Health Network in Toronto and a recognized expert in Canada for infection prevention and control.
“I consult with the infection prevention and control team at the NHS every week, and the hospital has put a number of innovative measures in place to minimize spread and control C. difficile,” said Dr. Gardam. “Superbugs like C. difficile are an ongoing battle for all hospitals and will always be a challenge.”
Enhanced cleaning practices were put into place at all NHS sites in 2011 based on consultation with 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.
Everyone visiting any of our hospital sites is reminded to clean their hands regularly. Please do not visit if you are sick.