Critical Health Violations Found in Kitchen Used by Daycares After E. Coli Outbreak

Critical Health Violations Found in Kitchen Used by Daycares After E. Coli Outbreak
A microbiologist points out an isolated E. coli growth on an agar plate from a patient specimen at the Washington State Dept. of Health in Shoreline, Wash. on Nov. 3, 2015. (The Canadian Press/AP/Elaine Thompson)
The Canadian Press

Inspectors found three critical violations at a central kitchen serving Calgary daycares affected by an E. coli outbreak, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said Tuesday.

The violations stem from an inspection on Sept. 5 related to food handling, sanitation and pest-control, said Dr. Mark Joffe, adding there were also two non-critical violations related to an odour and utensil storage.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been more than 231 lab-confirmed cases of the bacterial infection since the outbreak at 11 daycares was declared Sept. 4.

“This has been an extraordinary outbreak, both in terms of the numbers and the severity,” Joffe told reporters.

“It is certainly the largest outbreak in Alberta that I’m aware of and it’s particularly serious given that it has largely impacted young children who are at most risk of severe outcomes.”

Joffe said the kitchen was almost certainly the source of the infections. He said closing it immediately on Sept. 4 likely prevented the outbreak from being much worse.

Eleven food samples from the central kitchen and eight from daycare sites are being tested in Alberta Health Services’ public health lab, he said.

Twenty-five children and one adult were receiving care in hospital as of Monday, with 21 severely ill.