Designated Officers

Contact(s)

Boards of Health are responsible for post-exposure follow-up with Emergency Service Workers (ESW). 
Access is available 24/7.

Telephone:  705-474-1400 or 1-800-563-2808, ext. 5229
After Hours: Press '0' for Answering Service 

Resources

A Designated Officers Manual for Infection Prevention - Reducing the Risk for Front-Line staff

Ambulance Service Communicable Disease Standards Training Bulletin - November 2014

Ambulance Service Communicable Disease Standards - August 1, 2015

 Newsletters

Designated Officer Newsletter 2019

The role of the Designated Officer is essential to protecting the health and safety of all Emergency Service Workers. Each year the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit provides a newsletter to update Designated Officers on important infection prevention information. The purpose of this year’s newsletter is to provide education to Designated Officers about current diseases of significance, risk assessments, proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and immunization for Hepatitis B and Measles. 

Current Diseases of Significance

The following list of communicable diseases is not a comprehensive list of all current diseases of significance.

1)     Measles

  • A highly contagious viral illness spread from person-to-person through droplets from an infected person’s nose or throat (coughing or sneezing).
  • The virus can remain in the air of closed spaces for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the room.
  • Initial symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, drowsiness, red eyes and Koplik spots (small blue-white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat).
  • Three to seven days after initial symptoms start, a red blotchy rash appears
  • Thirty percent of infected persons will develop some kind of complication.
  • Measles is vaccine preventable.
  • As of June 13, 2019, 12 cases of measles in Ontario have been confirmed this year.
  • No cases of measles have been confirmed in the North Bay Parry Sound District in 2019.

 2)    Hepatitis B (HBV)

  • HBV is spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids.
  • Most infected persons do not have any symptoms. Those who so may present with jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, abdominal pain and/or nausea and vomiting.
  • HBV can be either acute or chronic. Acute HBV is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after exposure to the virus. Chronic HBV is a long-term illness that occurs when the HBV remains in the person’s body after six months.
  • The risk of developing an infection after percutaneous exposure is six to 30 percent if unvaccinated.
  • HBV is vaccine preventable.

 3)    Hepatitis C (HCV)

  • HCV is spread through blood-blood contact.
  • Most infected persons do not have symptoms for many years. For those with symptoms, they present very similarly to symptoms of HBV.
  • The risk of exposure after percutaneous exposure is 1.8 percent.
  • There is no vaccine available for HCV.
  • 89 cases of HCV were confirmed in the North Bay Parry Sound District in 2018
  • Common risk factors for both HCV and HBV include:
    • Coming into contact with infected blood.
    • Injection drug use and sharing needles.
    • Tattooing, piercing or acupuncture with unsterile equipment.
    • Sexual contact with an infected person.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are performed to determine what intervention(s) is the most appropriate to prevent the spread of infectious agents in a particular situation. Step-by-step instructions for how to conduct an effective risk assessment can be found below.

  1. Assess the anticipated interaction with client and/or environment. Ask yourself the following questions.
  • What task am I performing?
  • What is the risk of exposure to blood, bodily fluids (including respiratory secretions), non-intact skin, mucous membranes, body tissues and/or contaminated equipment?
  • Do I have access to personal protective equipment?
  • Will the client be cooperative?
  1. After reflecting on the above questions, then ask yourself if the client has a known infection or symptoms of an infection. If you answered yes, you are required to follow the appropriate Additional Precautions. If you answered no, or if you are unsure, proceed to step three.
  2. Ask yourself if you will be exposed to the following risks: blood, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, contaminated equipment and/or the client’s environment?
  3. If you answered no, no further action is required. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you must then consider the following scenarios.
  • Will my hands be exposed to the above risks?
  • Will my face be exposed to splashing and/or spray of the above risks, a cough or a sneeze?
  • Will my clothing or skin be exposed to splashes/spray or items contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, excretion and/or secretions?
  1. If you determine that your hands will be exposed the previously listed risks, you are required to wear gloves.
  2. If you determine that your face will exposed to splashing or spray of the previously listed risks, you are required to wear eye protection and a mask.
  3. If you determine that your clothing or skin will be exposed to splashes/spray or items contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, excretion and/or secretions, you are required to wear protective clothing as per your organization’s policies (ie a gown).

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, eye protection and gowns are used to place a barrier between yourself and infectious agents. The proper donning and doffing order of PPE is outline below.

Donning Order

  1. Hand hygiene
  2. Gown
  3. Mask
  4. Eye protection
  5. Gloves

Doffing Order

  1. Gloves
  2. Gown
  3. Hand hygiene
  4. Eye protection
  5. Mask
  6. Hand hygiene

Immunization

Vaccines are our best defense against the spread of infectious diseases. The following list of is not a comprehensive list of recommended vaccines. This list was composed to complement the current diseases of significance previously listed in this newsletter.

  1. Hepatitis B Vaccine
  • This vaccine is typically given to grade seven and eight students in Ontario schools.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination after 18 years of age is not covered by OHIP. It is, however, publicly funded for some high risk groups including those with needle stick injuries occurring outside of hospital.

    2. Measles Vaccine

  • This is a live-attenuated vaccine combined with mumps and rubella vaccines (MMR).
  • The first dose recommended at 12 months of age and second dose between four and six years of age.
  • Administration of the vaccine should be given to adults over 18 years of age if not previously immunized.
  • The MMR vaccine is covered by OHIP for individuals over 18 years of age.

It is strongly recommended that all Emergency Service Workers ensure all of their immunizations are to date.

Further Information

For more information please contact the Communicable Disease Control program at 1-800-563-2808 ext 5229. 

 

Print current or past newsletters

2019 Designated Officers Newsletter -  Highlights: Current Diseases of Significance

2018 Designated Officers Newsletter - Highlights: Chain of Transmission

2017 Designated Officers Newsletter - Highlights: Influenza ' The Flu"

2016 Designated Officers Newsletter -   Highlights: Routine Practices and Additional Precautions; Exposed - the Next Steps;

2015 Designated Officers Newsletter -   Highlights: Ambulance Service Communicable Standards; Ontario Association of Designated Officers; Mandatory Blood Testing Act

Presentations

Presentations available upon request.  Please call the Communicable Disease Control Program at 705-474-1400 / 1-800-563-2809 ext. 5229.

Change of Contact Information

Do you have a new designated officer assigned to your place of work?  If so please fill in the Change of Contact Information form; email to cdc@healthunit.ca or fax to 705-474-2809.

 

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808