Hospital Cleaning is Not Just for Outbreaks

A letter to the editor featured on the Web site  points to the most recent outbreak of Clostridium difficile at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) in Vancouver, British Columbia, and notes, "Its time the Vancouver Island Health Authority did something more than stepping up surveillance and monitoring and increased cleaning. Shouldnt that be a normal behavior? Shouldnt the hospital be cleaned properly all the time, not just when a deadly bacteria outbreak occurs?"

The editorial writer also take aim at the lack of hand hygiene: "Health officials have attributed this outbreak to improper hand hygiene. I think that means people arent washing their hands, or not washing them properly. It boggles my mind to think that the staff, after all of the outbreaks, publicity and lessons on how to wash their hands, still cant do it properly."

On Jan. 10, the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)s Infection Prevention and Control program declared the current outbreak of Clostridium difficile to be over.

The outbreak was declared on Dec. 31 on the sixth floor at NRGH with four confirmed cases. The VIHA states, "There were no additional cases identified during the outbreak, which means that there was no further transmission of C. difficile on the unit."

In total, this outbreak involved four cases. In one of these cases C. difficile was the cause of death of the patient, who also had underlying medical conditions.

The VIHA states, "The presence of C. difficile in hospital settings is not new and is not unique to VIHA; it presents challenges to health care providers throughout the industrialized world. Declaring the outbreak early ensured staff, physicians, patients and visitors had heightened awareness around increased infection control practices, and that sufficient resources were in place to contain the outbreak. NRGHs Infection Prevention Control program and administration wish to extend their appreciation to physicians, nurses, staff and housekeeping staff for their vigilance around increased infection control practices during this outbreak."