6 still in hospital with E. coli after Calgary daycare outbreak

The Alberta Children's Hospital is shown in Calgary, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. Two more children have been released from hospital after an E. coli outbreak at numerous Calgary daycares. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Six children with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) remain in hospital on Thursday as a result of the Calgary daycare E. coli outbreak, two of which are on dialysis. In the past day, two children were discharged from hospital.

HUS is a kidney- and blood-related complication of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection. Alberta Health Services (AHS) said around 15 per cent of infected children will develop HUS and half of them may require dialysis.

On Thursday, AHS said there were a total of 349 lab-confirmed cases linked to the outbreak. That’s one fewer than on Wednesday, which AHS said was confirmed as not part of the original outbreak.

Two more cases of secondary transmission were confirmed, both within an already-impacted household. AHS said some secondary cases are expected in “significant outbreaks” like the one declared on Sept. 4.

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AHS said a total of 842 children have been cleared to return to daycares, 17 more than on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Cancare Children’s Centre Scenic Acres was allowed to reopen after no new cases were detected during the three-day closure period. Two classrooms at MTC Daycare that were previously closed were also allowed to reopen after being deemed E. coli-free.

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Children under five and staff still require a negative test result to attend any childcare facility that was previously closed.

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Five facilities that were closed as a result of possible secondary infections remained closed on Thursday:

  • Active Start Country Hills: Dolphin and Starfish preschool classes
  • CEFA Early Learning Calgary South: JK 3-1 classroom
  • Renert Junior Kindergarten: all four Junior K classrooms
  • 1st Class Childcare Shawnessy: “Main daycare” area
  • Calgary JCC Child Care: infant and toddler rooms

AHS said Calgary JCC Child Care’s closure was extended due to the detection of additional cases showing symptoms, but noted they are not yet confirmed positive for E. coli. That facility has been closed since Sept. 15 and the earliest date AHS said it could reopen is possibly Sept. 25.

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