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QHC declares MRSA outbreak at BGH

BELLEVILLE, July 12, 2011 – The Quinte Health Care Infection Control Team has
identified an outbreak of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on the Sills
4 Complex Continuing Care unit at QHC Belleville General Hospital.

Less than five patients have tested positive for MRSA, although none are showing any symptoms.
“We want to be very clear that this is not associated in any way with the clostridium
difficile outbreaks that we are all hearing about around the province right now. MRSA is
very a different bug,” said Dr. Michael de la Roche, Chief of Infection Control. “We have
patients on this one unit who are colonized with MRSA, but are not sick with it. We take
MRSA, like any hospital acquired infection, very seriously and implement a range of
infection control measures to ensure it is not being spread to other patients. Having
MRSA can make it more difficult to treat an infection should one occur because it is
resistant to some of the typical antibiotics that we would ordinarily use.”
Quinte Health Care has instituted infection control procedures, including: cohorting
patients who have tested positive for MRSA; increased cleaning of the unit; dedicated
medical equipment and stopping any group activities on the unit. Visitors are asked to
keep themselves and their loved ones safe by cleaning their hands and putting on
protective gloves and a gown when they are visiting these patients. The situation is
being monitored daily by the QHC Infection Control team and these additional
precautions will remain in effect for at least the next 14 days.
What is MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus is a germ that lives on the skin and mucous membranes of
healthy people. Occasionally Staphylococcus aureus can cause an infection. When
Staphylococcus aureus develops resistance to certain antibiotics, it is called methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
How is MRSA spread?
MRSA is spread from one person to another by contact. MRSA can be present on the
caregiver’s hands either from touching contaminated material excreted by the infected
person or from touching articles contaminated by the skin of a person with MRSA, such
as towels, sheets and wound dressings. MRSA can live on hands and objects in the
environment.

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