This information is designed to assist aged-care facilities (ACFs) in the event of an outbreak of suspected viral gastroenteritis and provides guidance on early identification, prevention and control. It has been specifically written for the management of norovirus outbreaks in ACFs.

Outbreaks of gastroenteritis are common and therefore a serious concern for the aged care industry. Gastroenteritis in facility residents is associated with increased hospitalisation and mortality and causes significant disruption to staffing. Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in ACFs and is readily transmitted from an infected person to other persons.

In an outbreak of gastroenteritis in an ACF, it is critical to institute immediate infection control measures, even before obtaining laboratory confirmation of diagnosis.

The following information is included:

Appendix 5.1 For Public Health Units

  • Brief guidance notes for Public Health Unit (PHU) staff on possible approaches that may be taken in managing presumed Norovirus outbreaks in aged-care facilities.
  • Sample of an outbreak risk assessment matrix to assist decision making regarding level of response required.

Appendix 5.2 Guidance for managing suspected norovirus outbreaks in aged-care facilities

  • Summary protocol for staff in ACFs for managing outbreaks.

Appendix 5.3 Initial report template

  • Sample template for reporting an outbreak when it is first recognised.
  • Can be used by the facility for self-reporting, or as an interview template by PHU staff.

Appendix 5.4 Outbreak management checklist

  • • Summary checklist for ACF to assess key outbreak management activities.

Appendix 5.5 Self audit check list

  • Detailed checklist of infection management and outbreak control measures for ACF to use as a self audit tool.

Appendix 5.6 Line-list

  • Line-list for ACF to use in an outbreak to record details of patients affected with gastroenteritis.