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'Highly likely' central kitchen was source of Calgary daycare E. coli outbreak, AHS says

Alberta Health Services says 19 patients infected in the E.Coli outbreak in Calgary are severely ill. (CDC/Reuters - image credit)
Alberta Health Services says 19 patients infected in the E.Coli outbreak in Calgary are severely ill. (CDC/Reuters - image credit)

Alberta Health Services says it is "highly likely" that the source of an E. coli outbreak that has led to more than 150 cases in Calgary children is food that was distributed from a central kitchen shared between a number of daycare sites in the city.

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the health care agency said that there are now 164 lab-confirmed cases connected to this outbreak — up from 142 the day before.

There are currently 27 patients receiving care in hospital, with 19 confirmed as having severe illness or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of shiga-toxin producing E. coli which affects the kidneys.

AHS says those patients are stable and being treated.

"Based on the epidemiology of the cases we've seen to date, it is highly likely the source of this outbreak is food that was distributed from the central kitchen," AHS said in a statement.

"At this point, AHS has collected food samples for testing and awaiting results. At this time AHS has not been able to identify with certainty the exact food item that was the source. We continue to investigate."

Alberta Children's Hospital has established a dedicated clinic to monitor symptomatic patients after their initial emergency department visit and for patients who have been discharged from hospital.

More to come...