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