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Posted December 5 2011

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Health Care

C. difficile outbreak in a isolated unit at Freeport

Waterloo Region - Grand River Hospital in cooperation with Region of Waterloo Public Health has declared an outbreak of C. difficile in one unit at the Freeport Site. Hospital staff members are taking steps to protect patients while working to stop further spread of the disease.

“Five new cases have been recorded in the past three weeks, compared to six cases at Freeport from January to October of this year. The patients are stable , and we are treating and monitoring their condition while taking steps to prevent the bacteria from spreading further,” said Dr. William Ciccotelli , medical director of infectious diseases.

C. difficile is a bacterium that can cause severe diarrhea, usually after exposure to antibiotic . It typically affects patients with health problems, and not normally healthy people.

The outbreak is in specific to Union Terrace Four, a functional enhancement unit where three cases have been recorded. There are two other patients elsewhere at Freeport who recently contracted C. difficile during their hospitalization. Another Freeport patient has been positive for some time.

GRH has taken the following steps to deal with the outbreak:

* Increasing isolation precautions and closing UT4 to new admissions;
* Aggressively cleaning to stop the bacteria;
* Informing physicians at the hospital about prevention and treatment; and
* Postponing off-unit group activities on three units where there have been C. difficile cases, and asking patients on the affected units to stay there for the time being.

GRH is asking the public to delay visiting Union Terrace Four if possible while efforts to deal with the bacteria are underway. The visiting precaution will be reviewed in two weeks. Children are discouraged from visiting as tracking their hand washing can be more difficult than with adults.

“If you have to visit, please help us by washing and sanitizing your hands regularly before, during and after your visit. Hand hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of many infections,” added Dr. Ciccotelli.

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