Ontario Public Health Standards

Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control

Goal

  • To prevent or reduce the burden of infectious diseases of public health importance.23

Societal Outcomes

  • There is reduced incidence of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • There is reduced morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • There is increased public capacity to prevent and control infectious diseases.
  • There is increased capacity on the part of all hospitals, long-term care homes (LTCHs), and other settings with risk of infections to prevent and control infectious diseases.

Board of Health Outcomes

  • The board of health achieves timely and effective detection and identification of cases/outbreaks of infectious diseases of public health importance, their associated risk factors and emerging trends.
  • The board of health is aware of and uses epidemiology to influence the development of healthy public policy and its programs and services to prevent or reduce the burden of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • There is increased public awareness of infection prevention and control practices.
  • Community partners and health care providers are aware of the local epidemiology of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • Community partners and health care providers are aware of infection prevention and control practices.
  • Settings that are required to be inspected are aware of appropriate infection prevention and control practices.
  • The board of health has effective partnerships with committees, advisory bodies, and networks24 that address infection prevention and control practices.
  • Hospitals, LTCHs, and other settings with risk of infections are able to prevent nosocomial infections and control the spread of outbreaks of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  • The board of health manages outbreaks and other sporadic cases of infectious diseases of public health importance resulting in limited secondary cases.
  • The board of health manages reported cases of infectious diseases of public health importance and their contacts.
  • The board of health manages infection prevention and control practice complaints.
  • Settings that are required to be inspected use appropriate infection prevention and control practices.

Assessment and Surveillance

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall report infectious disease data elements in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current).
  2. The board of health shall conduct surveillance of:
    • Infectious diseases of public health importance, their associated risk factors, and emerging trends; and
    • Infection prevention and control practices of inspected premises associated with risk of infectious diseases of public health importance

    in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current) and the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

  3. The board of health shall conduct epidemiological analysis of surveillance data, including monitoring of trends over time, emerging trends, and priority populations, in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall work with community partners to improve public knowledge of infectious diseases of public health importance and infection prevention and control practices in the following areas:
    • Epidemiology of infectious diseases of public health importance that are locally relevant;
    • Respiratory etiquette;
    • Hand hygiene;
    • Vaccinations and medications to prevent or treat infectious diseases of public health importance;
    • Infection prevention and control core competencies, incorporating both Routine Practices (including personal protective equipment) and Additional Precautions (transmission-based precautions); and
    • Other measures, as new interventions and/or diseases arise.
    These efforts shall include:
    1. Adapting and/or supplementing national and provincial health communications strategies; and/or
    2. Developing and implementing regional/local communications strategies.
  2. The board of health shall participate on committees, advisory bodies, or networks that address infection prevention and control practices25 of, but not limited to, hospitals and LTCHs, which shall include consultation on the development and/or revision of:
    • Infection prevention and control policies and procedures;
    • Surveillance systems for infectious diseases of public health importance; and
    • Response plans to cases/outbreaks of infectious diseases of public health importance.
  3. The board of health shall work with appropriate partners26 to increase awareness among relevant community partners, including correctional facilities, health care and other service providers of:
    • The local epidemiology of infectious diseases of public health importance;
    • Infection prevention and control practices; and
    • Reporting requirements for reportable diseases, as specified in the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Disease Prevention

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall ensure that the medical officer of health or designate is available on a 24/7 basis to receive reports of and respond to infectious diseases of public health importance in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act; the Mandatory Blood Testing Act; the Exposure of Emergency Service Workers to Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current); the Institutional/Facility Outbreak Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  2. The board of health shall provide public health management of cases and outbreaks to minimize the public health risk in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current); the Institutional/Facility Outbreak Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] and provincial and national protocols on best practices. In addition, if an infection prevention and control lapse is identified, the board of health shall post an Initial and a Final Report online on the board of health’s website, in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current).[PDF]
  3. The board of health shall ensure that the medical officer of health or designate receives reports of complaints regarding infection prevention and control practices and responds and/or refers to appropriate regulatory bodies, including regulatory colleges, in accordance with applicable provincial legislation and in accordance with the Infection Prevention and Control Practices Complaint Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]. In addition, if an infection prevention and control lapse is identified, the board of health shall post an Initial and a Final Report online on the board of health’s website, in accordance with the Infection Prevention and Control Practices Complaint Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  4. The board of health shall ensure that the medical officer of health or designate receives reports of and responds to complaints regarding infection prevention and control practices in settings for which no regulatory bodies, including regulatory colleges, exist, particularly personal services settings. This shall be done in accordance with the Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Services Settings Protocol, 2008 (or as current) [PDF] and the Infection Prevention and Control Practices Complaint Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]. In addition, if an infection prevention and control lapse is identified, the board of health shall post an Initial and a Final Report online on the board of health’s website, in accordance with the Infection Prevention and Control Practices Complaint Protocol, 2008(or as current) [PDF] and the Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Services Settings Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

    For the purposes of sections 9 and 10, a “regulatory college” means the college of a health profession or group of health professions established or continued under a health professions Act named in Schedule 1 to the Regulated Health Professions Act.

  5. The board of health shall respond to local, provincial/territorial, federal and international changes in disease epidemiology by adapting programs and services.
  6. The board of health shall supplement provincial efforts in managing risk communications to the appropriate stakeholders on identified risks associated with infectious diseases of public health importance based on local epidemiology and epidemiological information.
  7. The board of health shall communicate in a timely and comprehensive manner with all relevant health care providers and other partners about urgent and emerging infectious disease issues.

Health Protection

Requirement

  1. The board of health shall inspect settings associated with risk of infectious diseases of public health importance in accordance with the Infection Prevention and Control in Child Care Centres Protocol, 2016 (or as current); [PDF] the Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Services Settings Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] and the Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Resources

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23 Infectious diseases of public health importance include, but are not limited to, those specified reportable diseases as set out by Regulation 559/91 (as amended) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and include zoonotic diseases. Emerging infectious diseases may be considered of public health importance based on a variety of criteria, including their designation as an emerging disease by international, federal, and/or provincial health authorities; their potential for preventability or public health action; and the seriousness of their impact on the health of the population and potential spread.
24 Networks include the Regional Infection Control Networks.
25 Infection prevention and control practices that may be addressed could include having current evidence-informed infection prevention and control policies and conducting regular staff education sessions to communicate and enhance awareness about the content of the policies.
26 Partners may include, but are not limited to, Regional Infection Control Networks.

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