This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.
Use infection control basics -- including soap and water -- to stop norovirus transmission
January 12th, 2015
With the new Sydney strain of norovirus causing an increase in outbreaks in health care settings, infection control measures are critical to prevent transmission in hospitals and nursing homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following basic infection control measures for the control of norovirus outbreaks in healthcare settings:
Patient Cohorting and Isolation Precautions
Place patients with norovirus gastroenteritis on Contact Precautions for a minimum of 48 hours after the resolution of symptoms.
When symptomatic patients cannot be accommodated in single occupancy rooms, efforts should be made to separate them from asymptomatic patients. These efforts may include placing patients in multi-occupancy rooms, or designating patient care areas or contiguous sections within a facility for patient cohorts.
Staff who have recovered from recent suspected norovirus infection associated with an outbreak may be best suited to care for symptomatic patients until the outbreak resolves.
Consider the following precautions:
--Minimize patient movements within a ward or unit during norovirus outbreaks
--Restrict symptomatic and recovering patients from leaving the patient-care area unless it is for essential care or treatment
--Suspend group activities (e.g., dining events) for the duration of a norovirus outbreak.
Key Infection Control Recommendations
--Actively promote adherence to hand hygiene among healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors in patient care areas affected by outbreaks of norovirus gastroenteritis
--During outbreaks, use soap and water for hand hygiene after providing care or having contact with patients suspected or confirmed with norovirus gastroenteritis.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If norovirus infection is suspected, adherence to PPE use according to Contact and
Standard Precautions is recommended for individuals entering the patient care area (i.e., gowns and gloves upon entry).