Norovirus outbreak in UK winter 2012 exceeded 1 million people (HPA)

REDUCE HCAI – SAVE MONEY AND BED DAYS

ORGANISM

Norovirus (winter vomiting bug) is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) in Ireland, UK and indeed worldwide.

It is the gastrointestinal equivalent of the common cold. In any year 1% - 5% of the population can expect to be affected by this virus – up to 5,000 people per week in Ireland alone.

MODE OF SPREAD


  • Norovirus can be transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects,
  • By contact with an infected person,
  • By the consumption of contaminated food or water.
  • The virus can survive for weeks on surfaces, clothes, linen etc. and can then spread on unwashed hands contaminating food and surfaces.

As an example, an outbreak in the US identified a single ill employee contaminated 76 litres of icing distributed on various baked goods, resulting in ∼3000 outbreak-associated cases of norovirus infection over 4 days.


SYMPTOMS


  • Symptoms of Norovirus include a sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
  • Some people may also have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps.
  • However, when Norovirus enters hospitals and healthcare facilities it can cause major outbreaks of infection, cause bed closures, ward closures, cancelled surgery and huge costs.

COSTS


Outbreaks in the United Kingdom have been estimated to cost $1 million per 1000 hospital beds


PREVENTION OF SPREAD


  • Prevention of spread centres around prompt identification and isolation of infected patients,
  • Quarantining contacts until symptom free for 48-72 hours
  • Above all, maintaining excellent hand hygiene standards.

REFERENCES/RESOURCES

HPA, 2012 Guidelines for the management of norovirus outbreaks in acute and community health and social care settings, HPA, 2012

HPSC, 2003 National guidelines on the management of outbreaks of norovirus in healthcare settings, HPSC, 2003

Norovirus Guidelines

“Our Technology System helps you audit, feedback, train and report, reducing HCAI and saving time, costs and lives”

EVERY MOMENT COUNTS

Clean hands using the correct technique to ensure all trace of bacteria are removed or killed


Cookie Policy