32 People Affected By Gastroenteritis Outbreak

February 28, 2013

A total of 32 people have now been affected by the outbreak of gastroenteritis on KEMH’s Gordon Ward and infection prevention measures are still in place, the Bermuda Hospital Board [BHB] confirmed today [Feb 28].

“Gordon Ward continues under current strict precautions, including enhanced cleaning practices, visitor restrictions, and restrictions of new admissions and transfers,” a BHB spokesperson said.

“All patients who are unwell are in isolation rooms and visitors and staff must put on disposable protective wear before entering, and dispose of it on leaving the room.”

The full statement from the BHB follows below:

BHB confirms today that infection prevention measures are still in place in Gordon Ward due to the outbreak of gastroenteritis. Individuals affected are recovering within 24 to 48 hours. One new patient case of gastroenteritis in Gordon Ward has occurred in the last 24 hours.

Gordon Ward continues under current strict precautions, including enhanced cleaning practices, visitor restrictions, and restrictions of new admissions and transfers. All patients who are unwell are in isolation rooms and visitors and staff must put on disposable protective wear before entering, and dispose of it on leaving the room. It is recommended that current restrictions/interventions continue at least through Friday.

It is not unusual for hospitals around the world to experience outbreaks of this nature. It is always important to respond swiftly to implement best practice infection control protocols to minimize the spread of any illness. BHB is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will update the community as the facts are known.

Latest facts:

  • A total of 16 patients have been impacted to date, eight of whom are no longer symptomatic.
  • A total of 16 employees have been impacted to date, eleven of whom are no longer symptomatic.
  • Gastroenteritis can be caused by many different organisms, but samples to date have tested negative for many of the common causes.

Preventing the spread of gastroenteritis:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water, and especially after going to the bathroom, changing diapers and before handling food or eating.
  • If you are caring for, or visit, someone who has gastroenteritis, make sure the individual washes his or her hands with soap and water, and that you wash your hands with soap and water after any patient contact.
  • If you are caring for someone who is ill, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using bleach cleaner. Remove and wash soiled linens. Use hot water and soap.
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms. Wait three days after you have recovered before handling food again.
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Comments (11)

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  1. Just us says:

    I’m sorry but, it sounds like somebodies are not doing their job thoroughly… What the heck these people are getting paid for? Let’s get it right people. Clean and dispose of the things you are handling properly. Or is it the not my job syndrome going on?

  2. Truth is killin' me... says:

    The numbers keep going up!?

  3. Vanco says:

    Just to think we are paying this guy Dr. Ashton, more than 20k a month to be the Infectious Disease expert!

    • Impressive says:

      Whats with the personal attacks?? Things like this are not uncommon in a hospital, no matter how much of an expert someone is he or she is not perfect and cant control everything,, cheeeshhh

  4. Dr. Ashton says:

    Dear Vanco,
    It appears that I should respond. I am hired to take care of patients 90% of the time I work, and advise on hospital-wide Infection Control issues 10% of the time. Thus I spend the majority of time managing complicated patients in the ICU, on the wards, in the outpatient clinic, and in the HIV clinic. I treat a large number of underserved, very ill patients that do not have insurance – and unlike others, as a personal practice, I do not bill patients if I know they do not have insurance. I was born in this hospital, I am Bermudian, and take offense to any suggestion that I do not care about my patients in Bermuda. I am not in a position to force/fire people who do not follow hospital policy and don’t wash their hands – the way the current outbreak is being spread. Most hospitals have a full-time position doing what I do in Infection Control and mid-level support for ID consultations, which I do not have. The hospital is old with public wards and not designed well to contain outbreaks. Similar outbreaks occur in even the best of hospitals, for at example at Yale, where I trained. The current syndrome is also in the community and likely came from the community – both are obviously connected. Please consider this carefully before you write.

    • Impressive says:

      Thanks Dr. Ashton,, your number 1 patient lol.. I know your doing a good job!!!

      Hyperimmunoglobulin E ;-)

    • Vanco says:

      Are kidding me! You actually think you get street credit because you are helping the poor and underserved? Oh dont forget, we should be impressed because you went to Yale and were Born in Bermuda. What are you talking about, that is actually making things worse for you. Come back on Curtis ward…You have patients here that are needing attention! Silly!

  5. Union Member says:

    Thank you Dr. Vanco for your comment, unfortunately there are many in our community that are full of venom and spit it whenever they have a chance. As a Public Health professional that worked in overseas Medical Centers for a decade, I can clearly say that a full time Infection Control Specialist is needed. Most hospitals have nurses do this full time and they work in conjuction with the IC doctor (who have similar functions as you outlined above). It would be interesting to see the cost of this outbreak and compare it to the salary of an ICS. Hopefully with the new hospital and prevention focus of the National Health plan the sentiment of these considerations are implemented if they are not currently operational

    • Union Member says:

      My apologies, my comment above should read Dr. Ashton. It was insulting to call Dr. Ashton Vanco.

  6. Vulpes says:

    I imagine the contagion started on the fifth floor what with all the you-know-what that is thrown around up there daily. In the meantime, to the Docs and Nurses actually doing the work, keep it up guys, hopefully real change is coming.

  7. Unbelievable says:

    As a person that has spent a huge amount of time daily in the hospital watching a family member, these are my personal observations:

    1)Hospital staff of all levels go from patient to patient, especially the elderly, without masks, gloves or washing their hands. Especially the food handlers. Why aren’t they made to change gowns/gloves as they enter/exit each room? This is especially noticed in the wards/rooms where the elderly are kept.
    2) Staff are allowed to enter the hospital dressed for work. If the hospital is supposed to be a sterile environment why is this practice allowed? Who knows what they are carrying on their clothes in and out of the hospital. Especially those that I see going into town on their breaks and returning to work in the same uniform
    3) Gowns and gloves should be a standard procedure for all visitors – period. The same concerns apply as to my point 2 above.

    Feel free to add to my above list but this is just major issues I have had and voiced repeatedly over the last few years.