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Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)

On February 19, 2013, Eastern Health confirmed an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness on a medicine unit at the Health Sciences Centre and sent stool specimens for testing. On February 20, 2013, both Clostridium difficile, known as C. difficile, and Norovirus were confirmed in the specimens of several patients.  Although there have been previous cases of C. difficile and Norovirus within Eastern Health facilities, this is the first time that Eastern Health suspects there may have been an in-hospital transmission of C. difficile.

Subsequent positive cases were laboratory confirmed on February 24, 2013, and March 1, 2013, on the same medicine unit. Two of the specimens that were C. difficile positive also tested positive for Norovirus. In total, six patients tested positive for C. difficile. As of the morning of March 18, 2013, one patient continues to have symptoms and is isolated on the unit at the Health Sciences Centre with C. difficile. From time to time Eastern Health does identify individual patients with C. difficile on other units throughout its acute care facilities.

In an effort to determine whether the outbreak of C. difficilewas caused by transmission within the hospital, Eastern Health sent samples to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Man., on February 26, 2013. The testing will determine whether all the cases of C. difficile are of the same strain. Results are expected within the next few weeks.

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Updated May 4, 2015