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OSMH declares C.difficile outbreak

5/8/2013 12:00:00 AM

(May 7, 2013 - Orillia, ON) –  Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH), in conjunction with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), has declared an outbreak due to an increase in the number of hospital-acquired C-difficile cases over the past 30 days.


Since April 10, OSMH has confirmed 5 cases of hospital-acquired C-difficile in different areas of the hospital.   The baseline is 1 case per month.


“OSMH diligently monitors C-diff cases on a daily basis and we take swift action to ensure the safety of all who come into our hospital,” said Catherine Gardner, OSMH Manager of Manager Occupational Health & Safety and Infection Prevention & Control. 


The measures include stepped up cleaning in affected areas, minimizing patient transfers to multiple rooms and an enhanced focus on hand hygiene.   No visiting restrictions are being implemented at this time but visitors are being asked to wash their hands thoroughly when entering and leaving patient care areas.


OSMH will remain in outbreak until it has eight consecutive weeks at or below its baseline of 1 case per month.



About C-Difficile

C. diff is one of the many types of bacteria that can be found in feces (bowel movement).


What is C. diff Disease?

C. diff occurs when antibiotics kill your good bowel bacteria and allow the C. diff to grow.  When C. diff grows, it produces toxins.  These toxins can damage the bowel and may cause diarrhea.  C. diff disease is usually mild but sometimes can be severe.  In severe cases, surgery may be needed, and in extreme cases C. diff may cause death.  C. diff is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals or long-term care homes.


The main symptoms of C. diff disease are:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness

Who Gets C. diff?

C. diff disease usually occurs during or after the use of antibiotics.  Old age, presence of other serious illnesses and poor overall health may increase the risk of severe disease.


How is C. diff Treated?

Treatment depends on how sick you are. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment.  For more severe disease, antibiotics are required.


How Does C. diff Spread?

When a person has C. diff disease, the bacteria in the stool can contaminate surfaces such as toilets, handles, bedpans, or commode chairs. When touching these items our hands can become contaminated.  If we then touch our mouth without washing our hands, we can become infected.  Our soiled hands can also spread the bacteria to other surfaces.


How to Prevent Spread?

If you are in the hospital and have C. diff. diarrhea, you will be put on precautions until you are free from diarrhea for at least two days. Your activities outside the room may be restricted.  All health care staff who enter your room wear a gown and gloves.  Everyone must clean their hands when leaving your room.


Always wash your hands after using the bathroom. Cleaning hands is the most important way for everyone to prevent the spread of C. diff. As well, a thorough cleaning of your room and equipment will be done to prevent spread of the infection.


Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) is located in Orillia, Ontario (just 114 kilometres north of Toronto) and serves more than 440,000 residents in North Simcoe Muskoka. OSMH provides a comprehensive range of programs and services, including medical, surgical and emergency care, dialysis, obstetrical and paediatric care, oncology, complex continuing care, mental health and rehabilitation services. For more information please visit our website at www.osmh.on.ca.


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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Terry Dyni, Director, Community Relations

Tel.: (705) 327-9179

E-mail: tadyni@osmh.on.ca      


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