AHS says the number of wildfire evacuees who have fallen ill with a nasty stomach flu in the Edmonton area has more than doubled since yesterday. Officials Monday reported an estimated 40 to 50 evacuees at the Northlands reception centre were sick with suspected viral gastroenteritis. Tuesday, Dr. Chris Sikora with AHS said the latest count has risen to 105 patients. “These symptoms usually resolve within one to three days and really do consisist of diarrhea, vomiting as well as a heft amount of nausea.”
Sikora says viral gastorenteritis is a significant nuisance even if you’re not an evacuee. “If we’re in our own environment, we can hang out at home and rehydrate and be sick in our own environment. When you’re away from home, when you’re in a different place, it’s that much more difficult. It’s more uncomfortable–you’re in a public place or you’re in a place that isn’t your home.”
Dr. Sikora says health officials expect the number of cases in Edmonton start to fall off soon after adding more hand sanitizing stations, stepping up cleaning of washrooms and showers and increasing communication about diligent handwashing. “It’s going to take a few days to see an effect from those mechanisms.”
Another nine cases have presented in the AHS Central Zone and four more in the Calgary Zone.