Health unit iden­ti­fies out­breaks in care homes

Shoreline Beacon - - News -

Kelso Villa re­tire­ment home in Owen Sound and Grey Gables longterm care home in Mark­dale have joined two other area care fa­cil­i­ties in deal­ing with res­pi­ra­tory out­breaks.

The out­break of in­fluenza was de­clared at Kelso Villa on Dec. 31, while the agent has yet to be iden­ti­fied in the out­break at Grey Gables, which was de­clared on Jan. 2.

Lee Manor long-term care home and Han­nah Walker Place re­tire­ment home in Owen Sound are al­ready deal­ing with in­fluenza A out­breaks, de­clared on Dec. 28 and Dec. 23 re­spec­tively.

In a note on its web­site, Grey County said the out­break at Lee Manor is on the first floor south, while the out­break at Grey Gables is on the Pine Ridge wing.

“At this time, in or­der to con­trol the out­break and pre­vent fur­ther spread­ing, we are dis­cour­ag­ing visi­tors to the homes,” it said on the web­site. “Signs have been posted on the front doors in­di­cat­ing the out­breaks and will be taken off once the out­break is de­clared over. Vis­i­tor re­stric­tions may change over the course of the out­break and up­dates will be pro­vided.”

The On­tario Min­istry of Health and Long-Term Care’s case def­i­ni­tion of a res­pi­ra­tory out­break is two cases of acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions (ARI) within 48 hours in a spe­cific unit or floor, with at least one be­ing lab­o­ra­tory con­firmed, or three cases of ARI (lab­o­ra­tory con­fir­ma­tion not nec­es­sary) within 48 hours in a spe­cific unit or floor.

The out­breaks come as flu sea­son picks up in the re­gion.

In its in­fluenza bul­letin for the week of Dec. 23 to 29, which was re­leased on Wed­nes­day, the Grey Bruce Health Unit up­graded its in­fluenza ac­tiv­ity from spo­radic to lo­cal­ized.

There were 29 lab­o­ra­tory-con­firmed in­fluenza A cases for the week, which was up from 17 for the week of Dec. 16 to 22.

So far in the 2018-19 flu sea­son, there have been 61 lab-con­firmed cases of in­fluenza A. There has yet to be a case of in­fluenza B or in­fluenza A and B.

In­fluenza is a con­ta­gious res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness that most peo­ple re­cover from af­ter a few days but can be life-threat­en­ing to some, par­tic­u­larly the el­derly, young chil­dren, preg­nant women or those with cer­tain chronic med­i­cal ill­ness.

Symp­toms in­clude fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, mus­cle and body aches, headaches and fa­tigue. It can cause vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea, more com­monly in chil­dren than adults.

Peo­ple with the flu are ad­vised to stay home to pre­vent its spread, while proper hy­giene such as hand wash­ing is also rec­om­mended.

Pub­lic health en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to get their flu shot. It is avail­able at phar­ma­cies and health prac­ti­tion­ers, as well as at clin­ics held at fam­ily health teams and other med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner groups.

While last year, the vac­cine re­sults was some­what dis­ap­point­ing, this year in­di­ca­tions are that it is a bet­ter match to the strain of flu that is mak­ing the rounds.

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