In a follow-up on the Edmonton Shigella outbreak that began last August, Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced Thursday that the outbreak was declared over.
The first person became ill on August 17, 2022 with a confirmed diagnosis on August 29, 2022 and an outbreak was declared on September 8, 2022. In the last several months, following the sharing of health guidance and mobilization of hygiene resources, there has been a steep decline in the number of cases reported. In the last two weeks, no new cases were reported.
Throughout the outbreak, 206 people had confirmed Shigella diagnoses and 139 of those people required hospitalization. This outbreak primarily affected members of Edmonton’s inner-city population. No deaths were reported connected to this outbreak.
Shigella is a disease that’s commonly associated with diarrhea, as well as fever, nausea and stomach cramps. It can cause severe illness, resulting in hospitalization and it spreads when someone comes into contact with fecal matter from an infected person and also by eating food contaminated with the bacteria.
AHS’ response to this outbreak began immediately following the first confirmed case and that work involved connecting with shelters, inner-city agencies, and local family physicians about the growing cluster of cases. In early October 2022, AHS reached out to the City of Edmonton for support and in mid-October AHS struck a task force to coordinate resources and a response between inner-city community partners.
Although the outbreak is over, it is expected that sporadic cases of Shigella will be confirmed in the weeks and months to come. Heightened surveillance for new cases will continue and AHS remains a resource to those in the community who have questions or concerns.
As always, we would like to remind the general public that proper hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of any illnesses, including Shigella.
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