EDIS Number: EH-20101115-28528-CAN
Date / time: 15/11/2010 04:14:02 [UTC]
Event: Epidemic Hazard
State/County: Province of Ontario
Number of Deads: None or unknow
Number of Injured: None or unknow
Damage level: Minor
A hospital in Peterborough, Ont., stopped admitting patients to one of its units as of Friday because of an "uncommon" outbreak of three different bacteria, including two superbugs. Peterborough Regional Health Centre is investigating several cases of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). There have been 11 cases of MRSA since Nov. 5. The first of seven C.difficile cases dates back to Oct. 22. There are two cases of VRE. Hospital spokesman Jonathan Bennett said it isn't uncommon for two or three of the bacteria to be present in small numbers around the hospital, but to have an outbreak of even two superbugs is unusual. "It's uncommon for us to be in an outbreak situation on a single unit with two organisms," Bennett said on Saturday. "It's quite concerning to us to find that we've got fairly significant numbers of transmissions in the same unit of two, which is C. diff and MRSA." He said the hospital is taking the situation "very seriously." Patients have been put into isolation, housekeeping staff are cleaning patient rooms and the hospital is re-educating staff on the importance of handwashing. The C. difficile outbreak is close to being declared over, if a series of tests come back negative on Monday, Bennett added. Until tests give the all clear, no patients will be admitted to or transferred from the acute care unit. The number of visitors to the unit was also being restricted to two family members per patient. C. difficile is a common infection found in hospitals and long-term care centres. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea and abdominal pain. If left untreated, MRSA skin infections can cause life-threatening complications like blood, bone or lung infections. Symptoms of drug-resistant bacteria VRE infections include fever, wound infections, inflammation and pneumonia. The hospital said no new cases of C. difficile were found in the last 10 days. The last new case of MRSA was found Nov. 8 and the hospital will conduct a third screening on Monday.