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Outbreak

Mrs. King has a fever of 102º, chills, and a headache. Mr. Moran has a cough, a sore throat, and a fever of 101.5º. Nursing Assistant Kendra is achy and doesn’t feel like eating. Hawley Village Care Center has a suspected influenza outbreak, which is a sudden increase in the number of people who are ill with influenza.

To protect the residents and staff, the nursing supervisor has contacted the health department and started a list of residents with symptoms, their severity, and care provided. In addition, all staff is informed to report any symptoms they have to the nursing supervisor and to see their personal doctors. The staff that is not ill is to help with infection control including wearing facemasks, disposing of infected items in appropriate waste receptacles, and performing hand hygiene. All staff, residents, necessary visitors are asked to strictly practice respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette to avoid transmitting the virus to anyone else.

When the health department confirms influenza, the residents are all given antiviral medication to help prevent the spread of the virus. Ill residents are told to stay in their rooms including at meal times. Group activities for other residents are rescheduled. New admissions and transfers are put on hold. Family and visitors of the ill residents are asked to stay home. Employees who are ill must also stay home.

Six weeks after staff first recorded Mrs. King’s symptoms, the final ill resident had been symptom-free for ten days. The outbreak was over.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners