Prevention and control of infections (PCI)

Nosocomial infections are defined as infections acquired during care administered by an institution of the health network, regardless of where such care is administered.

Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are defined as infections that occur as a result of health-care interventions in any health-care setting.

Health care-associated infections directly affect patients, their families and the community. They can result in isolation, suffering, prolonged disability, prolonged hospitalization, loss of work days, loss of income and sometimes death. For the hospital, health care-associated infections can result in an increase in the rates of hospitalization, costs related to the purchase of equipment and additional medication, and additional workload for all employees. The actions in prevention and control of infections (PCI) are therefore advantageous for all.

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services’ (NRHBSS) role is to support the health centres.


Program for prevention and control of infections in hospitals and long term-care institutions


  • Protect the patients against the acquisition of infections or multi-resistant germs during care.
  • Prevent the transmission of infections to the staff, visitors or the family.

The PCI program covers the following six sectors:

  • Surveillance of nosocomial infections and monitoring of emergent infectious problems;
  • The policies, procedures and means of support for prevention and control of nosocomial infections;
  • Education and training;
  • Evaluation of the PCI program;
  • Communication and information;
  • The management of outbreaks



Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Staphylococci are bacteria that are usually found on the skin or in the nostrils of humans. Over time and with the increase in the use of antibiotics, Staphylococcus aureus developed a resistance to several commonly used antibiotics, including semi-synthetic penicillin such as methicillin. MRSA is transmitted mainly from a patient carrier to another patient by the contaminated hands of the staff.

Community-Acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) is distinguished from hospital-acquired MRSA by its profile of resistance to antibiotics, by the types of infection involved (cellulitis, abscess) and by the target populations (without prior hospitalization).

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)

Enterococci are bacteria that are usually found in the intestines and the stools or on the genitals. In general, enterococci do not cause infections among individuals in good health. Sometimes, they can cause urinary infections, wound infections and, more rarely, blood infection. VRE are enterococci that have developed a resistance to several antibiotics, including vancomycin. VRE do not cause more infections than the other enterococci, but they can require longer hospitalization and treatment period since they are more difficult to treat.

Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea (CDAD)

Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea is a bacterial infection of the mucous membrane of the colon (part of the large intestine). The symptoms are the appearance of liquid or soft stools, fever and abdominal pain. The infection frequently occurs in elderly and debilitated persons often after a treatment with antibiotics. The bacterium produces spores that can survive for months in the patient’s environment (mattress, bed rails, call bell, toilet, etc.). It is estimated that each new case of CDAD involves an additional cost of $3 700.00 and an average prolongation of hospitalization by 3.6 days.