Edmonton Shigella outbreak rises to 173 cases
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in Follow-up of Shigella outbreaks Reported in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Provincial and city health officials report that the outbreak, which primarily affected residents of inner-city Edmonton, has risen to 173 cases, including 115 hospitalizations, since the first case was confirmed in late August. .
“We recognize that the case numbers in this outbreak are alarming and are doing everything we can to care for this vulnerable population, including coordinating additional resources and support in the downtown area. Fortunately, we are beginning to see a flattening curve in case numbers,” explains Dr. Michael Zachary, medical officer at AHS Edmonton Zone Medical Center for Health.
Shigella is an illness commonly associated with diarrhea, as well as fever, nausea, and stomach cramps. It can cause severe illness, resulting in hospitalization and is spread when someone touches the feces of an infected person and also by eating food contaminated with the bacteria.
Together with AHS, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health, Alberta Community and Social Services, Edmonton area shelters and other partner organizations, the Task Force shared some health guidance and mobilized additional hygiene resources.
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Some of these resources include:
- Distributed over 1,500 copies of the AHS Outbreak Information Leaflet.
- Creation and distribution of 500 personal care kits.
- The City of Edmonton has expanded the operation of temporary mobile bathrooms. Two of the seven sites will include showers, and one will include laundry facilities.
- The City of Edmonton, downtown shelters and community agencies have expanded access to existing hygiene sites, including extending hours of operation.
- A team of caregivers from multiple agencies made a coordinated effort to provide care and testing across multiple camps and other areas where people could be at risk from the disease.
- Shelters and agencies downtown help with requests and distribution of clean clothing donations.
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“The number of Edmonton residents who experienced homelessness during the pandemic has doubled,” said Christel Kejner, director of affordable housing and homelessness for the City of Edmonton. “Existing agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for services for homeless community members. We are working closely with AHS and our community partners to reduce the spread of this disease.”