What is an Outbreak

Outbreaks within residential aged care facilities are common and can cause considerable complications, distress, increased hospitalisations, and mortality.  An outbreak may be described as an increase in the normal or expected level of healthcare-associated infection within a residential aged care facility. 

An outbreak may be defined as


An occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in each area among a specific group of people over a particular period 


Two or more linked cases of the same illness.


Early identification and control of infectious diseases can minimise the potential for an outbreak. 

In an outbreak, notification to relevant stakeholders and implementation of appropriate control strategies will help facilitate outbreak management.

When an outbreak occurs, immediate action must be taken to prevent further transmission to residents and healthcare workers. 
All residents with infection symptoms should be treated as having an actual infection until determined otherwise. 


Common types of outbreaks include


Respiratory pathogens 



Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)


Gastrointestinal pathogens