15 Jun Norovirus decontamination hospital
Notification of the outbreak
One Sunday at 4 PM we were notified that there was a significant outbreak of norovirus in the hospital a few hours from us. The call came in by phone, and within two hours we were on location talking with the hospital management hygiene team. What have they done already? The hospital management team had sensibly attempted to contain the norovirus threat by ensuring that all patients and staff wash their hands, the affected patients were quarantined inside rooms, and that non-hospital food was limited as much as possible.
At BioDecon we have completed a number of projects related to norovirus in hospitals.
Here we shall look at one specific case study where we encountered a severe outbreak of norovirus, contained environment, decontaminated the word, and restored full operational control swiftly. For obvious reasons, the identity of the hospital in question will remain anonymous. It was an NHS environment.
The situation as we arrived
When he arrived there were 16/24 patients in the ward suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. There was no longer a room inside for all infected patients, and there were concerns that staff were going to become sick, leading to staffing problems on the ward.
The effects of norovirus
Diarrhoea is potentially very dangerous for unwell patients. Dehydration is perhaps one of the most severe consequences and biggest dangers of norovirus and symptoms include patients having a dry mouth, crying with no tears, feeling dizzy, and having reduced levels of your nation.
Other symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, nausea, fever, body aches, headaches and stomach pain.
Tackling norovirus through decontamination
We quickly identified that we needed to decontaminate the environment in order to ensure that the outbreak was limited and that there weren’t relapses. Norovirus can remain on surfaces and fabrics for a period of two weeks. The challenging part of the process was that using hydrogen peroxide for decontamination was not an option.
As a result, we decided to do a step-by-step deep clean of the entire ward, stripping beds, and ensuring that there is no cross contamination. By going through this deep cleaning process we ensured that the remaining eight patients did not get unwell with norovirus. The patients that were unwell, now in a clean environment, did not spread the bug further and were soon well.
Further decontamination of the norovirus ward
When patients had not displayed symptoms for 72 hours, we moved them to another ward of their own and went through a thorough decontamination process of the entire ward. This decontamination process involves the deployment of hydrogen peroxide in vapour form, and sterilise the entirety of the environment, including all equipment, fabrics, walls, surfaces and everything else. There was concern that a superbug was growing in the ward, so this decontamination process also sought to take care of this additional threat.
Immediate decontamination validity assurance
Following the completion of the decontamination process, we assessed the success of the process using enzyme indicators. We took samples from throughout the ward and quickly established that the decontamination process had been successful. Within 24 hours of the decontamination process the environment was certified free from norovirus, and sterile
Post project report
Following the completion of the decontamination process, we provided the hospital management with the report detailing observations from the process, including the most difficult to clean areas, suggested interventions from the future to maintain hygiene standards, and a proposal for a regular contract deep clean by BioDecon decontamination. With patients in the ward that were particularly sensitive to infectious disease and superbugs, it was important that a more comprehensive hygiene program was put in place in order to mitigate the risks of MRSA, norovirus, CPE and CREB infection et cetera.
We now work with this hospital as a regular partner, doing deep cleans in several awards and regular decontamination in the operating theatre, and post-operative care areas. To find out more about how BioDecon can help your hospital management team maintain a healthy and hygienic environment for patients, get in touch today on 01904 405959
We are more than happy to advise and guide you on anything you need to know, and to provide you with a free on-site visit and consultation. If you have an emergency situation right now then get in touch whatever the time of day and we will be with you immediately.