|Title:||Guidelines for the Management of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities|
|Document ID:||Operational Directive OD 0102/08|
|Date of issue:||Thursday, 7 February 2008|
|Status:||NO LONGER APPLICABLE|
|Description:||This guidelines have been developed as a management tool aimed to promote early recognition of and prompt effective response to gastroenteritis outbreaks. They are intended as a guide for all staff members working within residential care facilities.|
|Period of effect:||from 11 January 2008|
|Review date:||31 December 2012|
|Authorised by:||Dr Robyn Lawrence, ACTING DIRECTOR GENERAL, WA HEALTH, 11-Jan-2008|
|Print version:||View print version|
Guidelines for the Management of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities
Gastroenteritis outbreaks are common in group settings including residential care facilities, hospitals, childcare centres and schools. Outbreaks in residential care facilities (RCF) are the most commonly reported setting notified to the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD). Between January and October 2007, the Department of Health was notified of 109 outbreaks of gastroenteritis thought to be due to person-to-person transmission and not of a foodborne source. Seventy-six (70%) of these outbreaks occurred in aged care facilities (ACF) and 25 (23%) of them in hospitals. The majority of these outbreaks were either confirmed or suspected to be due to norovirus.
Residents in long-term care facilities represent a vulnerable population and have high attack rates from acute gastroenteritis. Several factors contribute to this. The low infectious dose of norovirus (<10 viral particles required for transmission), coupled with the virus’s environmental persistence and prolonged shedding after recovery, in addition to shared toileting and eating facilities by residents who are often immobile, incontinent and/or immunocompromised, predisposes these facilities to prolonged outbreaks with high attack rates.
Control of norovirus outbreaks requires consistent implementation of infection control measures. Resident transfer to a hospital or between institutions also has important infection control implications for the receiving hospital during an outbreak and for sporadic cases.
Dr Robyn Lawrence
This circular last updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 11:10am