Outbreaks should be suspected when healthcare-associated infections, recovery of specific pathogens, or other adverse events occur above the background rate or when an unusual microbe or adverse event is recognized. Healthcare-associated outbreaks often have multiple causes. The goal of any outbreak investigation is to identify probable contributing factors and to stop or reduce the risk for future occurrences.
If an outbreak or cluster is suspected in the hospitals or clinics, an Infection Preventionist will assume primary responsibility for the investigation.
For more information, refer to the Outbreak Investigation Policy.
- Outbreak investigation may take priority over routine surveillance and other routine activities.
- The Infection Preventionist will notify the Infection Prevention and Control Manager and applicable Medical Director(s).
- Not all outbreaks will require a full investigation. The decision to investigate an outbreak will be based on factors such as the severity of illness, potential for additional cases to occur, institutional priorities or requirements, and availability of resources.
For more information on what to do with bed bugs, refer to the Management of Potentially Infested Patient Property Policy.