Toronto schools locked down after possible outbreak of enterovirus-related disease

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School Health Workers leave first-ever ‘grim report’ on possible transmission of potentially deadly invasive disease from soiled drinking cups

Three Toronto high schools have been affected by a potential case of Enterovirus-related disease – the first in the city to be confirmed by the city’s public health department.

The health agency said it is investigating possible “transmission of Enterovirus-related disease” from “all but three” drinking cup, including some sources in the halls of Benjamin Franklin International Collegiate Institute.

It said it has also tested two other cups for the presence of the virus, both of which came back negative.

Toronto Public Health said it still does not know where the incursion of the infectious organism occurred.

“That will take a little bit of time because it’s actually cleaning of the public bathrooms, not very sweeping sweeping,” said spokesman Victor Seremba.

“All my colleagues knew they’d need to be in [Benjamin Franklin] all day,” he said.

The New York Department of Health confirmed this week that the Enterovirus-related case was among a group of infants who needed treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital, in Bronx, New York. The incubation period for Enterovirus-related illness is about two to 10 days.

Students at the Toronto high schools were on lockdown Thursday following the hospitalisation of at least two students, some of whom, according to school reports, may have ended up in intensive care, while others may have been diagnosed with influenza.

So far, the city has not confirmed or denied reports that bacterial diarrhea was at the centre of the possible transmission.

At Benjamin Franklin, three students were reportedly tested on Wednesday afternoon for enterovirus-related disease. That test came back negative, but a subsequent day-long cleanup in the bathrooms ended up resulting in seven new tests which both came back positive.

“Some of our cleaning crews did record some evidence of Enterovirus on cleaning gloves, but they haven’t directly connected that with the student being put in ICU,” Seremba said.

“We just want to emphasize to parents and guardians that the two children who were put in ICU, obviously, they’re suffering greatly, and that we’re doing everything we can to ensure their well-being.”

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