Preparing for an outbreak
- Evaluate and update outbreak policies and procedures annually in accordance with evidence-based practices or prevailing practices.
- Ensure staff, students and volunteers receive routine education and training on outbreak management and control.
What is an outbreak?
- An outbreak is generally an increase in the number of infections above the number normally expected for that setting over a defined period of time.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has specific outbreak definitions. They are defined as follows:
|Confirmed Outbreak: 3 or more cases within 48 hours in a specific area OR more than 2 units having a case within 48 hours OR 2 cases with one being lab confirmed|
|Suspect Outbreak: 2 cases within 48 hours in a specific area OR more than one unit having a case within 48 hours|
|Confirmed Outbreak: 3 or more cases within a 4 day period in a specific area OR 3 or more units or floors having a case within 48 hours|
|Suspect Outbreak: 2 cases in a specific area within 48 hours|
What are outbreak case definitions?
Outbreak case definitions are a set of criteria for determining who should be classified as a case. The definition is developed based on the clinic information and epidemiological information related to time, place and person.
|A resident or staff with 2 or more new respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat/hoarseness. The respiratory case definitions should be developed for each outbreak as symptoms will vary based on the pathogen involved.|
|A resident or staff with 2 or more episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea or a combination of vomiting and diarrhea within 24 hours or lab confirmation of a pathogen with one symptom.|
When to call Public Health
If you suspect an outbreak, contact Southwestern Public Health to discuss outbreak management and control with a member of the Infectious Diseases team.
|Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm||After-hours and holidays|
|St. Thomas Site: (519) 631-9900 ext. 1232||St. Thomas Site: (519) 631-9900 ext. 0|
|Woodstock Site: (519) 421-9901 ext. 3500||Woodstock Site: (519) 533-0131|