A Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) outbreak has been declared at Peterborough Regional Health Centre, the region’s health unit said on Tuesday morning.
According to Peterborough Public Health, an outbreak of C. difficile has been declared in the B6 inpatient unit of the hospital.
C. difficile is a bacterium found in intestines of many health individuals that causes diarrhea, cramping and other gastrointestinal difficulties and is often resistant to antibiotics. In severe cases, it can cause rapid heart rate, nausea, kidney failure and even death.
The health unit reports the onset of the first case was on Aug. 3 and was reported to the health unit on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, the health unit declared an enteric outbreak, meaning at least two patients have had similar symptoms over a 48-hour period.
“Staff/volunteers working at this facility should be advised not to work at any other facility,” the health unit stated.
Michelene Ough, the hospital’s director of communications, told Global News Peterborough on Tuesday afternoon that three hospital-acquired cases are linked to the outbreak.
She said individuals who are carriers of C. difficile can pass the bacteria on to others despite showing no signs of illness.
It is one of the most common infections in healthcare settings, she stated.
She noted additional infection prevention and control measures have been put in place, including isolation and testing of any patient with symptoms and enhanced cleaning and disinfection of the affected unit.
“The hospital continues to require that all healthcare workers, patients and visitors follow appropriate infection prevention protocols to prevent the spread of illness during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “This includes frequent hand cleaning when in the hospital environment.”