New infection outbreak hits Royal Columbian

Fraser Health region midway through hospital 'superclean' sweep

Royal Columbian Hospital is the site of the latest C.difficile outbreak in the Fraser Health region.

A new outbreak of the potentially deadly C. difficile bacteria has infected patients at Royal Columbian Hospital, Fraser Health’s regional trauma centre.

It began Monday, the same day Fraser Health had already scheduled the New Westminster hospital to start a month-long “superclean” as part of a broader campaign to reduce infection rates at vulnerable hospitals.

The same intensive cleaning operation was already performed at Burnaby Hospital, where a serious C. difficile outbreak earlier this year spawned a review and a series of recommendations.

Langley Memorial received the superclean treatment for two weeks in early April, followed by Peace Arch Hospital until April 29.

Surrey Memorial is next in line from April 30 to May 14, said Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward.

The Royal Columbian infection initially affected 12 patients in two wards, which are closed to new patients until those infected are symptom-free for a week.

Patients who contracted C. difficile can’t transfer out until they’re symptom-free for 72 hours.

Thorpe-Dorward said four patients still had symptoms as of Thursday and the outbreak could be declared over as soon as Sunday if there are no new cases.

NDP deputy health critic Sue Hammell called for a deeper investigation of cleaning practices at major hospitals, noting Burnaby Hospital failed its cleanliness audit after its deep clean.

Health Minister Mike de Jong said Burnaby’s audit score – 83 per cent compared to a standard of 85 per cent – was not “an abject failure.”

“The people working in those hospitals are doing everything humanly possible to ensure can attend and seek treatment in those hospitals in a clean, safe environment,” he said.

The bacteria is present in most hospitals but an outbreak is only declared when three or more patients have symptoms.

C. difficile infects the intestines and can cause illnesses ranging from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and colitis, and in some cases, results in death.

A number of deaths across the health region have been linked to C. difficile infections in recent years.

Fraser Health hospitals accounted for nearly half of the new C. difficile infections in B.C. from April through October of 2011, according to a newly released report from the Provincial Infection Control Network.

During that period, Fraser Health averaged a C. difficile infection rate of 10.6 cases per 10,000 inpatient days, well above the provincial average of 7.4.

The highest rates in the region were recorded at Burnaby Hospital (14.5), Surrey Memorial Hospital (14.5), Eagle Ridge Hospital (13.9), Royal Columbian (12.0) and Langley Memorial Hospital (11.6).

De Jong said the numbers have shown a “steady decline” since 2010.

Fraser Health is now posting information on its website on current outbreaks at: http://www.fraserhealth.ca/your_stay/infection_prevention_and_control/current-active-outbreaks/

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read