Seniors’ facility grapples with respiratory illness outbreak

NANAIMO – Dufferin Place is on Island Health's active outbreak list after five residents came down with a respiratory illness.

Influenza outbreak precautions have been lifted at Nanaimo’s Dufferin Place residential care facility after test results came back negative for the illness.

Early precautions, including the limited transfers of residents, were being taken last week at Nanaimo’s Dufferin Place, as residents grappled with a respiratory or influenza-like illness.

Those measures were lifted Friday when test results came back negative for influenza. The facility is still on Island Health’s active outbreak list with five residents showing symptoms of  respiratory syncytial virus, or Croup, but there are no visitor restrictions.

Dufferin Place is one of 16 facilities on Vancouver Island to land on an active outbreak list in the last week.

According to Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for Island Health, there’s been a sharp uptick in influenza-like illness and Island Health is seeing Influenza A H3N2 affect long-term care facilities – a strain not perfectly matched in this year’s flu vaccine.

Early outbreak precautions are taken as soon as two residents come down with symptoms.

Despite a mismatch in this year’s vaccine, Enns said there is still some protection and encourages people to get immunized.

“The mismatch is not a complete mismatch for H3N2 so there is still value in having the influenza vaccine,” she said. “We really want to encourage, especially our health care providers, to get the vaccine to limit the likelihood of being able to transmit to the people they care for.”

Nanaimo News Bulletin