Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Hosts Bug Day


Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre is staying on top with what’s “bugging” you. That’s why the Centre hosts an annual “Bug Day” during National Infection Control Week. This year marked the 7th anniversary of this event which took place October 19, 2004.

Bug Day is a day-long series of presentations, focusing on issues of infection prevention and control, public health and infectious diseases. Bug Day has become a local phenomenon and is the only independent event of its kind in Canada. The Health Sciences Centre is Manitoba’s largest health-care institution and is a provincial leader on many issues, particularly infection prevention and control.

“Infection prevention and control issues have always been recognized as being important for health-care workers and recently there have been developments across Canada which have highlighted the importance of infection prevention and control,” said Dr. John Embil, Director, Infection Prevention & Control Unit, Health Sciences Centre.

“Prevention of infection is perhaps one of the most important issues for maintaining good health, both in community dwelling persons and hospitalized patients,” Embil said, adding that Bug Day becomes an ideal forum to highlight these issues,

Nearly 500 participants from Winnipeg, across Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario attend the event each year. The event’s growing success is a testament of the rising awareness and interest in infection control issues.

“Bug Day has evolved from being a small gathering of interested health-care providers attending a series of presentations to being a full day learning event, with a multitude of speakers spanning a broad cross section of backgrounds,” Embil said.

Issues discussed this year included an overview of Clostridium difficile disease, tuberculosis, healthcare worker immunization, environmental mold disease, herpes simplex virus, pandemic influenza and influenza planning strategies, pediatric respiratory diseases and community acquired gastrointestinal infections.

Topics presented each year try to address timely issues in infection prevention and control, reflecting what has been in the forefront of the Canadian and International health-care scene.

“As the year evolves, specific events that have occurred are considered and topics selected from those occurrences. On numerous occasions, we have modified the program at the last minute to accommodate late breaking events,” Embil said. “We always try to involve local experts from the local Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Research community.”

Bug Day is an accredited educational event by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians, the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association and the Manitoba Registered Nurses Association. A multi-disciplinary committee comprised of Health Sciences Centre employees spends nearly a year coordinating the event.

Articles from Bug Day presentations have been published nationally and the event continues to grow and gain recognition throughout the country. Bug Day is also transmitted to rural healthcare facilities and northern communities by means of telemedicine. For more information about Bug Day, contact Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, Infection Prevention and Control Unit.