Glossary

Infection Prevention and Control

Clostridium Difficile
Clostridium difficile (also called C. difficile or C. diff.) is a bacterium that produces a toxin or type of poison that can cause swelling in the intestinal tract. Visit UHN health information for more information about C. Difficile.

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Influenza
Influenza is better known as “the flu”. It is caused by a virus. The specific type (or strain) of virus changes from year to year. People usually experience sudden symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever, muscle aches, headache and sometimes weakness. People typically get the flu during the fall and winter months. When they get it, the flu can last from 2 - 7 days. Visit UHN health information for more information about Influenza.

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MRSA
MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is an infection. Staphylococcus Aureus is normally found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. This is called carriage. Some bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics that we use to treat infections. MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to most antibiotics, including the antibiotic methicillin. Visit UHN health information for more information about MRSA.

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Nosocomial Infections
Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they get infections while they are in the hospital. This is a hospital-acquired infection or a nosocomial infection. Usually it is MRSA, VRE or C. Diff. It is important to monitor for these types of infections because we do not want them to spread between patients or from patient to visitor. We call this process of monitoring infection surveillance. Visit UHN health information for more information about the types of nosocomial infections.

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Viral Gasteroenteritis (Norovirus/Norwalk-like Illness)
Norovirus or Norwalk-like gastroenteritis is also called "the stomach flu" or "Norwalk". These viruses can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps and low-grade fever. Your symptoms cancome quickly and may last 12 - 48 hours, with the entire episode possibly lasting from 12 - 60 hours. Visit UHN health information for more information about viral gastroenteritis.

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VRE
VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci) is an infection. Enterococci are bacteria commonly found in the bowel of humans and animals. Enterococci can sometimes cause infection. Vancomycin is a strong antibiotic used to treat infections. Sometimes enterococci bacteria can become so strong that they do not respond to Vancomycin. This is known as antibiotic resistance. Visit UHN health information for more information about VRE.

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