Fraser Health reports outbreak of C. difficile at Royal Columbian Hospital

Fraser Health has detected an outbreak of Clostridioides difficile infection at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. The health authority added the outbreak to its list of current outbreaks on July 14.

Fraser Health has detected an outbreak of Clostridioides difficile infection at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

The health authority added the outbreak of C. difficile to its list of current outbreaks on July 14. 

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According to Health Canada, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that causes mild to severe diarrhea and intestinal conditions like pseudomembranous colitis (inflammation of the colon). C. difficile is the most frequent cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals and long-term care facilities in Canada, as well as in other industrialized countries.

C. difficile bacteria and their spores are found in feces. People can get infected if they touch surfaces contaminated with feces, and then touch their mouth. Healthcare workers can spread the bacteria to their patients if their hands are contaminated.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain/tenderness.

For healthy people, C. difficile does not pose a health risk. The elderly and those with other illnesses or who are taking antibiotics, are at a greater risk of infection.

Fraser Health asks all visitors to use our hand hygiene stations when they enter and exit its facilities, particularly if there is a reported outbreak.

If you have any of the following, please do not visit at this time:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Cough or flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Rash

If you are visiting someone who is located on an outbreak unit, visitors may be limited to two people at a time. Fraser Health asks that you do not visit other patient rooms or common areas on the unit such as the lounge and patient kitchenette. It also recommends you don’t visit public areas in the hospital such as the cafeteria and gift shop.

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