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CHEO is taking extra precautions to prevent spread of respiratory viruses

No new confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 strain at this time

September 24, 2014, Ottawa — The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) announced extra precautions today on its 4 East medical unit, to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections.

Three patients have been diagnosed with hospital-associated respiratory illnesses. All are doing well. CHEO is following established hospital standards by taking extra measures to prevent the possible future spread of infection. These include:

  • Restricting visitors to the unit. Only parents, guardians, or other designated individuals may visit. Individuals with respiratory or other symptoms must not visit.
  • Reporting to Ottawa Public Health that the hospital is putting outbreak measures in place.
  • Increasing resources for cleaning of rooms and equipment.
  • Closing shared areas on that unit (e.g. kitchen and playroom).
  • Reducing staff movement between different units in the hospital.
  • As always, staff members who are ill will not come to work.

Multiple respiratory viruses are present in the community and causing illness in children, as usually seen at this time of year. CHEO currently has 25 patients admitted with respiratory illness. There are no further confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 within the hospital.

Visits to CHEO’s emergency department are up 7% for September this year over last year. About one quarter of visits to CHEO’s emergency department currently are for respiratory infections, compared to 16 % last year.

Please note that CHEO is not sending out this media advisory because there is any general concern for the community. Every year in viral season, you can expect hospitals to put measures in place in different units at different times to help prevent the spread of infection. CHEO takes infection prevention and control very seriously, and staff members are extremely vigilant with precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory and other infections among its vulnerable inpatients.

Useful information:

To reduce the risk of infection, and to prevent overcrowding in Emergency, CHEO strongly encourages parents who are concerned about their child’s respiratory symptoms, for example wheezing, to see a primary care provider in the community (e.g. family doctors, walk-in clinics). Parents are also reminded that siblings and other family members are not to accompany the patient and his/her parent to the Emergency department. If a child appears to be struggling to breathe, then he/she should be seen in an Emergency Department immediately. Children under 5 years old or children with a history of asthma should be watched more carefully for worsening symptoms, especially breathing difficulties.


These prevention measures help stop the spread of respiratory viruses.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds:
             - After being in a public place or outdoors
             - After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
             - After visiting the washroom
             - Before preparing or eating food
             - Before and after visiting with people who are sick
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, your arm or your sleeve – not your hand
  • Stay at home when you are ill
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs and toys.

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For further information, please contact:

Eva Schacherl
Communications Manager and Strategist
613-737-7600 x 3536
Cell: 613-769-5553 

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