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London Health Sciences Centre reports unit-level C. difficile outbreak


For Immediate Release:
March 30, 2009

(LONDON, Ontario) – A unit-level outbreak of C. difficile has been identified at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital. Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) is a microorganism that can cause a health care-associated infection.

This outbreak is contained to a single unit and is being reported under criteria from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care’s public reporting initiative.

The Middlesex London Health Unit has been notified and infection control staff at LHSC is continuing with aggressive measures to combat C. difficile on this unit.

A 15-bed wing in the unit is now closed to new admissions, and affected patients have been cohorted together in this area.

In addition, LHSC has established a "Clean Team" to help combat antibiotic resistant organisms (AROs) at LHSC. The team is an addition to the hospital’s regular cleaning staff, and will be using a new microfibre cleaning system to target AROs in a systematic, proactive approach. It has been dispatched to this particular unit at University Hospital.

Visitors to this unit are also being limited to two per patient.

”At London Health Sciences Centre, our primary concern is always the health and well-being of our staff, patients and the community,” said Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, Integrated Vice President, Medical Affairs and Medical Education. “The control of Antibiotic Resistant Organisms is a priority project at LHSC. Our dedicated professionals continue to work hard to control the spread of C. difficile and we are confident we will soon be able to bring this hospital unit’s outbreak status to an end.”

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for over 130 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Children’s Hospital, two family medical centres, and Lawson Health Research Institute - a joint research initiative with St Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 30 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s 10,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

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For more information contact:

Cory Habermehl
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 58738

After-hours assistance:
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call