A recent report released by Alberta Health Services has revealed alarming health violations in a shared kitchen used by multiple daycares in Calgary. The inspection was prompted by an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli that had affected several daycares in the city, resulting in children being hospitalized and placed on dialysis due to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease.
During a press conference, Dr. Mark Joffe, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, stated that the emergency department physicians noticed a significant rise in young children with gastrointestinal complaints after the long weekend in September. They immediately alerted the medical officer of health, who helped identify the link between the cases and the daycare centers, ultimately leading to the centralized kitchen as the source of the outbreak.
Since then, there have been 264 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli associated with the outbreak, with the cause still under investigation. However, the environmental inspection report of the KidsU Centennial – Fueling Minds Inc. kitchen uncovered distressing evidence of a pest infestation, including live adult cockroaches observed on stainless steel equipment and sticky pads that trapped at least 20 cockroaches each.
Furthermore, the report highlighted instances of unsafe food handling practices and inadequate equipment for maintaining proper food temperature during transportation. Previous inspections also revealed violations on multiple occasions before the September inspection date.
As a result of these findings, the kitchen has been closed, and it will only reopen after Alberta Health Services confirms its safety. Dr. Joffe emphasized that it is rare for inspections to be completely clean, considering the volume of inspections conducted annually. He noted that the facility had two infractions in April, which were promptly corrected, but three critical violations and two non-critical violations were identified during the most recent inspection.
The investigation is ongoing, with health authorities determined to discover the source of the infection and take necessary measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. In the meantime, 25 patients are currently receiving care in hospital, with 22 confirmed cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome and six patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis. Rest assured, medical professionals are providing the necessary care and support to affected children and families through outpatient clinics set up in Calgary hospitals.
Q: What is the cause of the outbreak?
A: The cause of the E. coli outbreak in Calgary daycares is still under investigation.
Q: How many cases of E. coli have been confirmed?
A: There have been 264 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli connected to the outbreak.
Q: Why was the kitchen closed?
A: The kitchen was closed due to significant health violations, including a pest infestation and food handling issues.
Q: Are the affected children receiving appropriate care?
A: Yes, the children with severe illness are in stable condition and receiving the necessary care in hospital. Other children and families are also receiving care and support at outpatient clinics in Calgary hospitals.
Q: Will the kitchen reopen?
A: The kitchen will only reopen once Alberta Health Services determines that it is safe.