MORLEY, Alta. — RCMP and paramedics were called to a rural home west of Calgary on Wednesday where an infant was pronounced dead and 14 other people were found suffering from influenza-like symptoms.
Cpl. Curtis Peters said Mounties went to a home in Morley, on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation 60 kilometres west of Calgary, to check on a report of a child in medical distress.
"The investigation is very preliminary right now," Peters said. "We don't know a lot of details, but unfortunately we can confirm that a child did die at that residence."
The RCMP said its major crimes unit is assisting the Cochrane detachment with the investigation.
EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said a four-month-old was pronounced dead at the home.
He said 10 children and four young adults were rushed to hospital. One young child was in serious condition, while the rest were stable.
The symptoms were mainly respiratory, said Brideaux.
"Largely these are the typical symptoms we see in any seasonal flu," he said.
"Somebody may have some shortness of breath. They may have a fever. They may be feeling just generally unwell."
The sickest child was in one ambulance, while the rest were well enough to be transported in groups of three or four, said Brideaux.
On Wednesday evening, two RCMP vehicles and an ambulance were parked at a large blue house nestled off a dirt road as wet, heavy snow fell.
One of the cruisers was blocking off the driveway and a man told media gathered outside that the children's mother wanted privacy.
Brideaux said it appeared there was a "familial relationship" for all involved, but it was not clear how all of them were related.
He said when EMS personnel deal with multiple patients, it's usually because of something like a car crash or violent trauma — not an illness.
"From a medical standpoint, it is quite unusual and rare," he said.
Edith Pedneault, an official with Indigenous Services Canada, said the department has offered support to community health officials.
"Our thoughts are with the family and the community of Stoney Nakoda at this tragic time," she wrote in an email.
She referred all questions about what happened to RCMP.
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press