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Secondary cases of E. coli increases following Calgary outbreak: Alberta Health Services

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

This figure includes 27 laboratory-confirmed secondary cases, an increase of four since Saturday, said the emailed statement from the provincial health agency.

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

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

Nine patients are being treated in hospital, compared to 12 on Saturday. All of these patients suffer from 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 healthcare teams continue to provide them with the best possible care and support,” AHS said.

The original daycares linked to the communal kitchen were allowed to reopen 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.

These daycares are:

  • Active Start Country Hills: Dolphin and Starfish preschool classes.
  • CanCare Daycare – Scenic Acres location: Busy Bees, Bumble Bees and Butterflies classrooms.
  • CEFA Early Learning Calgary South: class JK 3-1.
  • Renert Junior Kindergarten: the four classes of Junior K.
  • VIK Academy: This site was part of the initial closures, and classrooms 3 and 4 are closed again as a precaution while awaiting test results.
  • Shawnessy 1st class daycare, main daycare area.
  • JCC Child Care in Calgary received an order Friday to close its infant and toddler rooms.

AHS said MTC daycare is not closed, but affected children and staff at Prominade and McKenzie classes are informed they are excluded from attending all daycares until they test negative for E. coli and remain symptom-free.

“Initial results suggest that these cases affecting additional daycares are mostly cases of secondary transmission. Either these new cases were in contact with children at the original daycare or children at the original daycares were in contact with the establishment,” said the AHS press release.

“Two cases are not yet linked and AHS is continuing its investigation.”

AHS said it saw indications that the outbreak linked to the initial exposure had reached its peak.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Monday during a news briefing at the World Petroleum Congress that the province will soon be able to conduct a review of what happened.

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

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

“We wanted to make sure that all of this was paid for so that they could make the choices that were right for their families. At this time, we have not extended the partial closures of other establishments.”

A total of 642 children linked to the outbreak were allowed to return to child care.

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