02/12/2015 08:44 EST | Updated 04/14/2015 05:59 EDT

Toronto General shuts cardiovascular ICU after C. difficile outbreak

The cardiovascular intensive-care unit at Toronto’s largest hospital has been temporarily closed off to new patients after an outbreak of Clostridium difficile made five people ill.

Toronto General Hospital revealed the outbreak Wednesday, after a fifth patient contracted the infectious bacteria in a four-week period.

There is currently one symptomatic patient remaining in the unit, said University Health Network spokeswoman Alex Radkewycz in an email statement to CBC News.

C. difficile is a spore-forming bacteria that emits toxins that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems in patients. There have been multiple outbreaks in Canadian hospitals in recent years.

“We are ensuring that the physical environment and equipment are cleaned frequently with Clorox using best practices in cleaning processes,” said Radkewycz.

“We will continue to limit placement of patients on the unit until we are satisfied that the unit is thoroughly cleaned and that the possibility of transmission of C. difficile is significantly reduced.”

The hospital is working with patients and their families to ensure they are aware of the outbreak and the precautions they need to take to prevent any further spread of the bacteria.