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December 11, 2009

Seven Oaks Hospital Emergency Department Currently Experiencing Outbreak

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is notifying the public that Seven Oaks General Hospital's Emergency Department is currently experiencing an outbreak of bloodstream infections caused by Serratia marcescens.

Serratia marcescens bloodstream infections can cause fevers and chills, which promptly resolve with antibiotic therapy. Since a higher than normal number of cases was first noticed in late summer, a total of 40 cases have been identified. Most of the patients experienced mild symptoms. Two patients with the infection have died as a result of their significant underlying health conditions. The infection was coincidental.

WRHA Senior Management was made aware of the outbreak yesterday afternoon as a result of the outbreak investigation and felt it important to advise the public today. The Region wants to stress that the notification is being sent out of an abundance of caution and does not recommend individuals avoid the Seven Oaks Emergency Department as a result of this notification.

Seven Oaks has all appropriate infection control procedures in place. Staff are aware of the symptoms and are monitoring all cases. The number of individuals infected is small given the number of patients the department sees on a daily basis. Annually it treats approximately 30,000.

Infection, Prevention and Control staff continue to investigate the outbreak, the source of which they believe may be environmental in origin. The outbreak team is awaiting the results of laboratory investigations. The majority of the affected patients were admitted to the hospital through the Emergency Department where they received IV medication. No other similarities exist between them all.

The last reported case occurred December 1st. The region is notifying all the affected patients. Any new information will be made public as soon as it is available.

Any patients who have recently been to Seven Oaks, received intravenous medication and have flu-like symptoms, should contact their physician or contact Health Links - Info Santé.

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