January 2, 2007

Contact:
Judie Havers
Corporate Communications & Public Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 58738

Suspected Norwalk Virus Restricts Hospital Units

(LONDON, Ontario) - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has initiated closures of 2 units as a result of a suspected outbreak of Norwalk Virus in patients and staff. Unit C4-200, Vascular/Orthopedic, at Victoria Hospital, and Unit 5IP, Cardiac Care, at University Hospital are currently closed for new admissions. Strict infection control measures are in place on the affected units. Visitors to these units are being restricted and instructed regarding the risks to themselves of visiting during this outbreak.

The incubation period for Norwalk Virus is 12 to 48 hours, followed by 1 to 2 days of vomiting and/or diarrhea. Transmission is usually person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. Although the virus is rarely severe or fatal in healthy adults, patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities are particularly susceptible and can be compromised by the virus. Patients in acute care areas and emergency departments will be managed on contact precautions during the period of the outbreak. These precautions will be maintained until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.

“London Health Sciences Centre is committed to ensuring a clean, safe environment for patients, visitors, staff and physicians,” says Dr. Robert Lannigan, Clinical Microbiology, London Laboratory Services Group. “Their protection is of paramount importance.”

LHSC has policies and practices in place to manage infection control and outbreak situations, including protocols for hand hygiene and the wearing of personal protective clothing and equipment.

LHSC has posted signs at all entrances and in patient and public areas encouraging visitors to engage in frequent handwashing. Visitors who are experiencing signs of illness are asked not to enter the hospital.

LHSC reports infection rates to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is partnered with London’s other teaching hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.

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Last Updated May 31, 2007 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada