Influenza, overcrowding blamed for killing an infant, sending 14 relatives to hospital - APTN NewsAPTN News

Influenza, overcrowding blamed for killing an infant, sending 14 relatives to hospital

(Home in Morley, Alta. where EMS found an infant dead and transported 14 others to hospital with flu-like symptoms Wednesday. Photo credit: Tamara Pimentel)

Melissa Ridgen and Tamara Pimental
APTN News
Health Canada says influenza appears to be what killed a four-month-old Morley, Alta. girl and hospitalized her parents and 12 siblings.

“We’re still awaiting the official results from the autopsy but we got a letter today from Health Canada saying it does look like it is the flu,” said Rob Lahache, CEO of the Wesley band, one of three reserves that make up the Stoney Nakoda Nation in Morley, 60 kilometers west of Calgary.

On Wednesday afternoon, an infant was declared dead inside a home and 14 others were taken by ambulance to hospital with “influenza-like symptoms” according to paramedics.

Lahache said the community has been dealing with a flu outbreak in recent weeks.

“We’ve got an extended winter and extended flu season.”

While health officials said exposure to a noxious substance had been ruled out, there was speculation something other than the flu was to blame.

“Everyone is being described as being ill at the same time but maybe some people have their onset of their illness before others, and sort of have passage of flu from one person to another rather than everybody getting sick at once which would not be typical with flu, ” infectious disease expert Neil Rau told APTN News.

But if the bug hit an overcrowded house, it could hit everyone at once, as Health Canada believes is the case.

Lahache said he’s unsure how many bedrooms and bathrooms are in the family’s modest bungalow, but the home is “small” for 15 people.

The Wesley band has approximately 1,600 on-reserve members and overcrowded housing is a problem. “We have 25 people living in some houses, others have two people or one person. We can’t control how many people are in a house.”

The most recent housing audit shows an average of 9.4 people live in each home in the community.

“Overcrowding happens all across Canada on First Nations. We’re dealing with a socialized housing system and there’s only so much you can do within that,” Lahache said.

Two adults have been released from hospital. A two-year-old remains in serious condition in hospital and the others are in stable condition.

Lahache said community members have offered to “open their doors” to the family members as they’re released from hospital.

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20 Responses to “Influenza, overcrowding blamed for killing an infant, sending 14 relatives to hospital”

  1. Carolkobliski@yahoo.ca'
    carol April 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm #

    The First Nations that are impacted by the shortage of housing on our reserves and the overcrowding has been an on going cycle and yet the government continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of housing in our communities…were all limited to how much were given and how many houses we can build and yet our population is growing faster than how many houses we can build because of the funding we get…so much overcrowding and families getting sick and dying..so what are our leaders doing on our behalf to provide a safe roof over our heads,who’s fighting for us,all I see is all talk no action and in the mean time we’re losing children,elders due to the social problems we all face and shortage of homes…something has to happen where our funding isn’t getting filtered out by the time it gets to us…we need all the funding we can get to better ourselves and to have a safe environment for all….the government holds the purse and distributes what they think we need without consulting us…we need to control our own fundings because we know what we need,they don’t..we’re the ones struggling and being impacted by the lack of funding for our needs…I hope this child who we lost will wake us up as a nation to push our leaders to go and get what’s entitled to us through our treaties…there’s no need for overcrowding and the government needs to release our funds that sit in a trust collecting interest,interest that their probably using for their high salaries and fancy cars big houses while we suffer…I hope we remember this child who died because of living in deplorable conditions and I hope people wake up and gather as a nation…no more to the government…

  2. c************@yahoo.ca'
    carol February 19, 2019 at 6:58 pm #

    The First Nations that are impacted by the shortage of housing on our reserves and the overcrowding has been an on going cycle and yet the government continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of housing in our communities…were all limited to how much were given and how many houses we can build and yet our population is growing faster than how many houses we can build because of the funding we get…so much overcrowding and families getting sick and dying..so what are our leaders doing on our behalf to provide a safe roof over our heads,who’s fighting for us,all I see is all talk no action and in the mean time we’re losing children,elders due to the social problems we all face and shortage of homes…something has to happen where our funding isn’t getting filtered out by the time it gets to us…we need all the funding we can get to better ourselves and to have a safe environment for all….the government holds the purse and distributes what they think we need without consulting us…we need to control our own fundings because we know what we need,they don’t..we’re the ones struggling and being impacted by the lack of funding for our needs…I hope this child who we lost will wake us up as a nation to push our leaders to go and get what’s entitled to us through our treaties…there’s no need for overcrowding and the government needs to release our funds that sit in a trust collecting interest,interest that their probably using for their high salaries and fancy cars big houses while we suffer…I hope we remember this child who died because of living in deplorable conditions and I hope people wake up and gather as a nation…no more to the government…

  3. Bella@hotmail.com'
    Bella April 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

    The chiefs of the tribe get the money for the band and disperse it. Funny how on some reserves, he chief has a giant 2 storey brick house, while others on the same reserve are in a housing crisis… perhaps investigations need to be done on the distribution of the money.

  4. b****@hotmail.com'
    Bella February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    The chiefs of the tribe get the money for the band and disperse it. Funny how on some reserves, he chief has a giant 2 storey brick house, while others on the same reserve are in a housing crisis… perhaps investigations need to be done on the distribution of the money.

  5. rogersrgoodeye557@gmail.com'
    Roger C Goodeye April 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    I’m very disappointed to see the negative comments from the Nation’s CEO. He said he is dealing with a socialized housing which is difficult to deal with. This contributed to a child’s death in this Nation. Socialized housing this gives the picture these people on the Nakoda Nation love living together in dozens. Rob Lahache the CEO is not doing his job and should be fired. He said socialized housing is happening all across Canada and there is only so much that can be done.I know that lots can be done about socialized housing if death results from this. The CEO is not doing his job by not suggesting he is working on a solution to socialized housing that is blamed for the fatality and made 10 other occupants become ill.

  6. r****************@gmail.com'
    Roger C Goodeye February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    I’m very disappointed to see the negative comments from the Nation’s CEO. He said he is dealing with a socialized housing which is difficult to deal with. This contributed to a child’s death in this Nation. Socialized housing this gives the picture these people on the Nakoda Nation love living together in dozens. Rob Lahache the CEO is not doing his job and should be fired. He said socialized housing is happening all across Canada and there is only so much that can be done.I know that lots can be done about socialized housing if death results from this. The CEO is not doing his job by not suggesting he is working on a solution to socialized housing that is blamed for the fatality and made 10 other occupants become ill.

  7. Jennieclarke14@hotmail.com'
    Jennie Clarke April 7, 2018 at 6:52 pm #

    Over crowding and neglect of the politically electted must be investigated Why is this happening most First Nations communities are one of the many challenges Forst Nations face everyday This should no longer accepted by community members and allow mainstream to think it is a fault of theirs There is people that lead the First Nations community Funding for housing and renovations

  8. j*************@hotmail.com'
    Jennie Clarke February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    Over crowding and neglect of the politically electted must be investigated Why is this happening most First Nations communities are one of the many challenges Forst Nations face everyday This should no longer accepted by community members and allow mainstream to think it is a fault of theirs There is people that lead the First Nations community Funding for housing and renovations

  9. whyistheskyblue@gmail.com'
    Nadine Bell April 7, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

    Sad to hear of the loss of the Baby. I hope conditions for us people on Reserve take a turn for good by now.

  10. w**************@gmail.com'
    Nadine Bell February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    Sad to hear of the loss of the Baby. I hope conditions for us people on Reserve take a turn for good by now.

  11. nishe1000@gmail.com'
    Michele April 6, 2018 at 10:57 pm #

    And this overcrowding will continue unless the government steps up on their promises. But of course this isn’t as necessary as pushing a pipeline through to destroy the earth! Something wrong with this mentality!

    • bigsndt4@hotmail.com'
      Mary April 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

      It’s all got to do with money .. promises will once again be broken for the Indigenous People .. It’s just like the Drug Dealers no one does anything to prevent the drugs that are killing off the young people !! Crazy world ..I pray for this family they will get better and the baby RIP ❤️

    • sandoraconsulting@gmail.com'
      Sandra April 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

      This has nothing to do with government and it’s promises. It has everything to do with the capacity of the first nation and it’s ability to obtain funding to build more houses. The band has to be in good standing financially, and making payments on any existing social housing loans they have. Where government may fail is in providing financial literacy education to communities that need it. Fingers need to be pointed in right direction.
      .

    • jamesbation23@gmail.com'
      James April 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm #

      It’s not the government’s responsibility to build homes for everyone. Talk about sense of entitlement!

  12. ila.ieraci@shaw.ca'
    Ila Ieraci April 6, 2018 at 9:09 pm #

    So sorry to hear this, I recently had the flu and only passed it on to one grandkid, thankfully hubby didn’t get it. My heart goes out to this family, I am from a large family as well, my baby sister died at ten months old from double pneumonia and measles. I hope all the members recover, we need to press the federal government to increase funding to reserves so that housing can be properly addressed. It’s bad enough to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere but to have insufficient housing on top of it all is too much to bear. I wish this family well, I truly hope their lives improve for the better. My deepest condolences to them all for the loss of their little angel. <3

  13. n********@gmail.com'
    Michele February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    And this overcrowding will continue unless the government steps up on their promises. But of course this isn’t as necessary as pushing a pipeline through to destroy the earth! Something wrong with this mentality!

    • b*******@hotmail.com'
      Mary February 20, 2019 at 4:07 am #

      It’s all got to do with money .. promises will once again be broken for the Indigenous People .. It’s just like the Drug Dealers no one does anything to prevent the drugs that are killing off the young people !! Crazy world ..I pray for this family they will get better and the baby RIP ❤️

    • s****************@gmail.com'
      Sandra February 20, 2019 at 4:00 am #

      This has nothing to do with government and it’s promises. It has everything to do with the capacity of the first nation and it’s ability to obtain funding to build more houses. The band has to be in good standing financially, and making payments on any existing social housing loans they have. Where government may fail is in providing financial literacy education to communities that need it. Fingers need to be pointed in right direction.
      .

    • j************@gmail.com'
      James February 20, 2019 at 4:00 am #

      It’s not the government’s responsibility to build homes for everyone. Talk about sense of entitlement!

  14. i*********@shaw.ca'
    Ila Ieraci February 20, 2019 at 2:16 am #

    So sorry to hear this, I recently had the flu and only passed it on to one grandkid, thankfully hubby didn’t get it. My heart goes out to this family, I am from a large family as well, my baby sister died at ten months old from double pneumonia and measles. I hope all the members recover, we need to press the federal government to increase funding to reserves so that housing can be properly addressed. It’s bad enough to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere but to have insufficient housing on top of it all is too much to bear. I wish this family well, I truly hope their lives improve for the better. My deepest condolences to them all for the loss of their little angel. <3