National guidelines on the management of outbreaks of Norovirus infection in healthcare settings

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/302939
Title:
National guidelines on the management of outbreaks of Norovirus infection in healthcare settings
Authors:
Viral Gastroenteritis Subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Disease Surveillance Centre
Publisher:
National Disease Surveillance Centre
Issue Date:
2003
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/302939
Item Type:
Report
Language:
en
Description:
Infection due to norovirus is extremely common in the community with as many as one in one hundred people becoming ill each year. Noroviruses are highly infectious agents, capable of being spread directly from person-to-person, by food and water and through the air. The virus is very resilient and can survive for long periods in the environment and on surfaces such as door handles or worktops. Because of these features, noroviruses can cause widespread and intractable outbreaks especially where people are gathered closely together. Since it is a community infection, outbreaks in congregate settings such as hospitals are simply a reflection and a gauge of what is happening in the community. Hospitals and residential institutions are common locations for outbreaks of infection by noroviruses and can cause extensive disruption to a very vulnerable group of individuals. The number of outbreaks and their extent within the acute and residential healthcare sectors can place a considerable burden on the health system. Despite this, the illness caused by the virus is relatively mild, with more severe cases appearing only occasionally. Outbreaks due to norovirus are not eradicable, but they are controllable. There is a growing body of international evidence that indicates interventions that will minimise the effects of the virus. Within hospitals and other healthcare settings, an early, rapid response to an outbreak due to norovirus is the key to its control. Having an agreed hospital/residential home outbreak plan in place is the best method for ensuring uniformity and effectiveness of response. Prompt establishment of an outbreak control team that is responsible for controlling the spread of infection and coordinating the investigation of and responses to an outbreak is essential. Early communication and the rapid institution of early control measures will aid this. The essential early steps in control of an outbreak will include immediate cleaning and environmental decontamination of soiled areas, frequent hand washing with warm water and soap for all staff and patients, segregation of those who are ill from those who are not (cohorting), limitation of movement of staff and patients, exclusion of ill staff from work for 48 hours after their last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhoea and sensible management of hospital visiting. Increased hospital attendance is a factor in the development and sustaining of outbreaks of illness due to norovirus. The effects of noroviral infection, however, can be minimised by reduction of the susceptible pool of patients (particularly elderly patients) by their discharge or transfer to step-down facilities. This will also provide increased capacity within hospitals to allow more effective cohorting of patients. Given its ability to be shed by convalescing cases for a minimum of 48 hours after symptoms subside, effective control will involve ensuring that affected staff leave the ward and go off duty immediately they develop gastrointestinal symptoms and remain off work for a minimum of 48 hours after their last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea. There must be the provision by agencies to ensure that ill staff can remain off duty for the necessary time period, otherwise infection will be reintroduced. Hospital cleaning is essential in preventing and controlling of outbreaks of illness due to norovirus. There should be provision by agencies to ensure that regular cleaning schedules and protocols agreed with infection control professionals should be guaranteed and safeguarded. And during outbreaks these should be enhanced to meet the increased need for cleansing. This guidance is intended for use and adaptation in all healthcare settings. Local arrangements can be put in place to match local needs, but the above principles should guide decision making in all circumstances.
Keywords:
INFECTION CONTROL; COMMUNICABLE DISEASE
Local subject classification:
NOROVIRUS
ISSN:
0-9540177-4-9

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorViral Gastroenteritis Subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Disease Surveillance Centreen_GB
dc.date.accessioned2013-10-08T08:23:06Z-
dc.date.available2013-10-08T08:23:06Z-
dc.date.issued2003-
dc.identifier.issn0-9540177-4-9-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/302939-
dc.descriptionInfection due to norovirus is extremely common in the community with as many as one in one hundred people becoming ill each year. Noroviruses are highly infectious agents, capable of being spread directly from person-to-person, by food and water and through the air. The virus is very resilient and can survive for long periods in the environment and on surfaces such as door handles or worktops. Because of these features, noroviruses can cause widespread and intractable outbreaks especially where people are gathered closely together. Since it is a community infection, outbreaks in congregate settings such as hospitals are simply a reflection and a gauge of what is happening in the community. Hospitals and residential institutions are common locations for outbreaks of infection by noroviruses and can cause extensive disruption to a very vulnerable group of individuals. The number of outbreaks and their extent within the acute and residential healthcare sectors can place a considerable burden on the health system. Despite this, the illness caused by the virus is relatively mild, with more severe cases appearing only occasionally. Outbreaks due to norovirus are not eradicable, but they are controllable. There is a growing body of international evidence that indicates interventions that will minimise the effects of the virus. Within hospitals and other healthcare settings, an early, rapid response to an outbreak due to norovirus is the key to its control. Having an agreed hospital/residential home outbreak plan in place is the best method for ensuring uniformity and effectiveness of response. Prompt establishment of an outbreak control team that is responsible for controlling the spread of infection and coordinating the investigation of and responses to an outbreak is essential. Early communication and the rapid institution of early control measures will aid this. The essential early steps in control of an outbreak will include immediate cleaning and environmental decontamination of soiled areas, frequent hand washing with warm water and soap for all staff and patients, segregation of those who are ill from those who are not (cohorting), limitation of movement of staff and patients, exclusion of ill staff from work for 48 hours after their last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhoea and sensible management of hospital visiting. Increased hospital attendance is a factor in the development and sustaining of outbreaks of illness due to norovirus. The effects of noroviral infection, however, can be minimised by reduction of the susceptible pool of patients (particularly elderly patients) by their discharge or transfer to step-down facilities. This will also provide increased capacity within hospitals to allow more effective cohorting of patients. Given its ability to be shed by convalescing cases for a minimum of 48 hours after symptoms subside, effective control will involve ensuring that affected staff leave the ward and go off duty immediately they develop gastrointestinal symptoms and remain off work for a minimum of 48 hours after their last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea. There must be the provision by agencies to ensure that ill staff can remain off duty for the necessary time period, otherwise infection will be reintroduced. Hospital cleaning is essential in preventing and controlling of outbreaks of illness due to norovirus. There should be provision by agencies to ensure that regular cleaning schedules and protocols agreed with infection control professionals should be guaranteed and safeguarded. And during outbreaks these should be enhanced to meet the increased need for cleansing. This guidance is intended for use and adaptation in all healthcare settings. Local arrangements can be put in place to match local needs, but the above principles should guide decision making in all circumstances.en_GB
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherNational Disease Surveillance Centreen_GB
dc.subjectINFECTION CONTROLen_GB
dc.subjectCOMMUNICABLE DISEASEen_GB
dc.subject.otherNOROVIRUSen_GB
dc.titleNational guidelines on the management of outbreaks of Norovirus infection in healthcare settingsen_GB
dc.typeReporten
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