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Secondary cases of E. coli grow in aftermath of Calgary outbreak: Alberta Health Services

There are now 348 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli in the city following an outbreak at Calgary daycares, Alberta Health Services said in an update Monday. 

That figure includes 27 lab-confirmed secondary cases, which is an increase of four since Saturday, said the emailed statement from the provincial health body. 

This comes after an outbreak of the shiga toxin-producing E. coli, which can cause serious issues. The outbreak has sent children to hospital and some are on dialysis after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease which affects the kidneys.

WATCH | Infectious diseases expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains shiga toxin-producing E. coli

secondary cases of e coli grow in aftermath of calgary outbreak alberta health services

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Health officials have said it’s likely the source of the outbreak is linked to a shared kitchen that provided food to a number of daycares, but the cause of the outbreak has not been identified. 

There are nine patients receiving care in hospital, which is down from 12 on Saturday. All these patients have hemolytic uremic syndrome. Three patients are on dialysis, AHS said. 

“Patients with more severe illness are in stable condition and responding to treatment. Our frontline health-care teams continue to provide them with the very best care and support possible,” AHS said. 

The original daycares linked to the shared kitchen have been permitted to re-open by AHS, but other schools and daycares in the city have been closed or partially closed due to what is believed to be secondary spread. 

Those daycares are: 

  • Active Start Country Hills: Dolphin and Starfish preschool classes.
  • CanCare Childcare – Scenic Acres location: Busy Bees, Bumble Bees and Butterflies classrooms.
  • CEFA Early Learning Calgary South: JK 3-1 classroom.
  • Renert Junior Kindergarten: all four Junior K classrooms.
  • VIK Academy: this site was part of the original closures, and Classrooms 3 and 4 are again closed as a precaution pending testing results.
  • 1st Class Childcare Shawnessy, main daycare area. 
  • Calgary JCC Child Care was issued a closure order for its infant and toddler rooms on Friday. 

AHS said MTC Daycare site is not closed, but affected children and staff in the Prominade and McKenzie classrooms are being notified that they are excluded from attending all childcare facilities until they test negative for E. coli and remain symptom free.  

“Initial results suggest these cases affecting additional daycare facilities are mostly cases of secondary transmission. Either these new cases were in contact with children from the original daycare or children from the original daycares were in contact with the facility,” the AHS statement said. 

“Two cases are not yet connected, and AHS is further investigating.” 

AHS said it is seeing indications that the outbreak related to the initial exposure has peaked. 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said during a media availability at the World Petroleum Congress Monday that the province will soon be at a point where they’ll be able to shift into a review of what happened. 

She added that the one-time payment she announced last week was designed to be for the first 11 daycares connected to the outbreak, not those with secondary spread. 

“Because [of] the trauma for those parents, the disruption for those parents, the financial hardship for those parents, and the lack of confidence those parents have in returning their kids to school,” Smith said.

“We wanted to make sure that all of that had a payment so that they can make the choices that are right for their family. At the moment we haven’t extended to the partial closures on the other facilities.”

A total of 642 children connected to the outbreak have been cleared to return to a daycare facility.

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