Most outbreaks of gastroenteritis in institutions are caused by norovirus, and the following control guidelines apply to viral gastro outbreaks (including norovirus, rotavirus and sapovirus). However, it is also important to consider toxigenic pathogens (C. perfringens and C. difficile), and bacterial pathogens (Salmonella and Campylobacter), as possible causes of gastroenteritis outbreaks in hospitals and aged care facilities.
In the event of a gastroenteritis outbreak there are a number of precautions that will prevent the spread of infection and control the outbreak.
Form an outbreak team to enable decisions, communication and development of strategies to manage the outbreak.
Minimise as much as possible the circulation of staff between affected and unaffected areas. Where possible designated staff should care for affected patients.
Eating utensils, such as crockery, cutlery and food trays, should be washed and cleaned in the normal manner using hot water and detergent. No special requirements are necessary. Staff delivering or collecting food trays should wash their hands with liquid soap and running water or use alcohol based rub on leaving the patient area.
These guidelines should be read in conjunction with
For further information please call your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.