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Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday or Long weekend outbreaks?

For many of us Canadians, this past week has been all about running around and trying to get organized for our Thanksgiving Weekend.  If you’re lucky, you’re not hosting the big family event and just need to show up to eat the fabulous meal that some loving relation has slaved over.  In my family, we potluck – whoever is hosting does the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy and the rest of us bring the other fixings.  I’m on dessert duty – a dairy free, gluten free cheesecake.  Trust me it will be delicious!

For anyone in the infection prevention world it has long been known (or believed to be true) that outbreaks ALWAYS occur on Fridays at 4:30pm.  Our anecdotal notion that outbreaks are more likely to be reported on Fridays is so strong that a group of researchers undertook a study to determine if there really is such a relationship.  Although various associations between days of the week and different healthcare outcomes have been described in literature, the data that supports the Friday Outbreak theory was sparse.  The study analyzed data for over 900 institutional outbreaks over a 4 year period.  The analysis did in fact uncover a clear pattern.  Reporting of outbreaks on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) was below the average and Monday was the most likely day of the week for an outbreak to be reported with Friday also showing another high peak in reporting.

Logically thinking, this makes sense.  On weekends we generally only have infection preventionists on call and people may be loath to call them.  Peak reporting on Monday then becomes the “catch up” time of dealing with whatever happened over the weekend; and Friday – well that’s “deadline time” of trying to get everything off your plate to enjoy the weekend!

Regardless of the day of week the outbreak is declared, rapid detection of outbreaks without a doubt helps ensure that the outbreak can get contained in a shorter period of time which is obviously important for the safety of our patients and staff!  Weekend outbreaks that go uncontained without a doubt will lead to a higher attack rate and increases the risk of higher mortality rates.

Fingers crossed that my fellow Canadian’s have a no outbreaks to declare today, and that no outbreaks occur over the weekend so you all can enjoy a relaxing weekend of reconnecting and celebrating with family and friends!

Bugging off – I have a dessert to make!


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