AHS investigating Shigella outbreak in Edmonton zone

AHS is investigating a cluster of cases of Shigella in the Edmonton zone.

Have you heard of Shigella? Most of us likely haven’t, but there’s an outbreak in the Edmonton zone, according to Alberta Health Services (AHS).

In a release, AHS says it identified a cluster of Shigella cases among the inner-city population of Edmonton in August of 2022. To date, there are 87 people with Shigella, 64 of those people required hospitalizations. The first person became ill on August 17, 2022. No deaths have been reported connected to this outbreak.

Shigella is a disease 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 says it has reached out to physicians and inner-city shelters and partners to advise them of the situation and has provided advice for helping reduce the spread of illness while also ensuring that anyone who requires medical attention receives the care they need.

A task force led by AHS with representation from the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health, Alberta Community and Social Services, Edmonton area shelters and other partner organizations has been created with the goal of sharing resources and support to help stop the spread of this bacteria.

AHS reports the risk to the general public remains low. However, it is reminding that proper hand hygiene helps to prevent the spread of many illnesses, including Shigella.

Anyone experiencing symptoms that might be related to Shigella or anyone with questions or concerns about their health is encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider or call Health Link at 811.

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