Germ Illustration

Huron Perth Public Health’s Role in Outbreak Control

The health unit has three major roles related to the investigation of an enteric or respiratory outbreak in child care centres.

  1. Legislated Role

In order to protect the public’s health, the health unit’s Medical Officer of Health and public health staff have the authority to require:

  • the exclusion of ill children/staff from the centre;
  • children/staff to submit samples;
  • the centre to follow specific outbreak control measures.
  1. Consulting Role

The health unit will provide advice to the child care centres regarding:

  • signs and symptoms of enteric and respiratory illnesses including case definitions;
  • information about infectious diseases capable of causing illness in a centre;
  • how to reduce the spread of infectious microorganisms in a centre;
  • how to obtain and store specimen samples;
  • policies to support outbreak reporting and management.
  1. Co-ordinating Role

The health unit will help to co-ordinate the necessary steps to bring the outbreak under control by:

  • identifying the type and number of specimen samples needed;
  • delivering enteric outbreak kits to the centre and possibly to pick-up/drop-off sites in the community;
  • ensuring specimen samples collected are appropriately transported to the Public Health Laboratory in a timely manner;
  • conducting a kitchen inspection at the centre if an outbreak of foodborne illness is suspected.

Last modified: February 19, 2020