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C. difficile outbreak at Hamilton General Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences

For Immediate Release: July 30, 2012

C. difficile outbreak at Hamilton General Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences

Hamilton, Ontario – Hamilton Health Sciences has declared a C. difficile outbreak on the Surgical Trauma Unit (6 South) at its Hamilton General Hospital site. The hospital currently has a total of four confirmed, hospital-associated cases of C. difficile. Three of these cases are associated with 6 South.

The 6 South unit remains open and there are currently no other symptomatic patients under investigation in the hospital. Enhanced C. difficile infection prevention and control measures have been implemented to prevent the further spread of this infectious disease.

“It is not unusual for hospitals similar in size to the General to have cases of C. difficile at any given time," says Dr. Dominik Mertz, medical director, Infection Control and Prevention. “When we see a cluster of cases, we become even more vigilant than usual, ramping up our cleaning procedures, hand washing practices, and ensuring that antibiotics are used appropriately. Infection control is always our top priority.”

Strategies include:

• Promotion of, and adherence to good hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is critical for staff, patients, and for visitors upon entering and exiting the hospital, and is of critical importance on entering and exiting patient rooms. Hand hygiene is one of the best ways to stop infections from spreading.
• All affected patients are placed in isolation rooms which are double-cleaned daily with sporicidal disinfectant as per our regular practice for C. difficile.
• Heightened cleaning procedures on affected units.
• Early detection and intervention is practiced by the Infection Prevention and Control Team at all times.
• All staff and/or visitors to affected patients must wear proper Personal Protective Equipment
• Continuation of the hospital’s rigorous work in antibiotic stewardship to prevent new cases, which includes daily review of all patients on antibiotics by the Antimicrobial Stewardship Group on the affected unit.

Hamilton Health Sciences, in partnership with Hamilton Public Health, is monitoring this situation closely and will provide updates.


For more information, contact:

Lillian Badzioch
Public Relations & Communications, Hamilton Health Sciences
Tel.: (905) 521- 2100, ext.
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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