NewsDesk @bactiman63

In a follow-up on the Shigella outbreak reported in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, province and city health officials report the outbreak, primarily affecting members of Edmonton’s inner city population, 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 concerning and we are doing everything we can to care for this vulnerable population, including coordinating additional resources and supports in the downtown area. Thankfully, we are starting to see a bend in the curve of case numbers,” explains Dr. Michael Zakhary, AHS Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health.

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.

Together with AHS, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health, Alberta Community and Social Services, Edmonton area shelters and other partner organizations, the task force has shared some health guidance and mobilized additional hygiene resources.

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Some of those resources include:

  • Distribution of over 1,500 copies of an AHS outbreak information handout.
  • Creation and distribution of 500 personal care kits.
  • The City of Edmonton has expanded the operation of temporary mobile washrooms. Two of the seven locations will include showers, 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 care providers from multiple agencies carried out a coordinated effort to provide outreach care and testing across multiple encampments and other areas where people could be at risk of illness.
  • Downtown shelters and agencies are assisting with requests for and distribution of clean clothes donations.

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“The number of Edmontonians experiencing homelessness doubled during the pandemic,” said Christel Kjenner, the City of Edmonton’s Director of Affordable Housing and Homelessness. “Existing agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for services for unsheltered community members. We are working closely with AHS and our community partners to limit the spread of this illness.”