|Canada says first H5N1 bird flu virus patient flying from Beijing has died
Health officials said a fatal case of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Canada, the first such case in North America. The victim was traveling from China when symptoms first appeared.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the case, in Alberta, was an isolated one and that the risk to the general public is very low.
Officials said the person began to feel ill on a flight to Canada from Beijing on December 27. They said it was the first case of H5N1 circulating in Beijing and said China looking is looking into it.
“This is the first evidence of this particular virus circulating in Beijing. Chinese authorities are going to be very interested. We've contacted them already,'' Dr Gregory Taylor said.
Taylor said the victim only visited Beijing. The victim did not travel to a farm or visit markets, he said.
The World Health Organization says that as of mid-December, there had been 648 laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 flu, reported mostly in Asia. Of that total, 384 infections have been fatal.
Experts are cautious when it comes to bird flu viruses infecting humans. They have been closely watching the H5N1 bird flu virus. Scientists fear it could mutate and spread rapidly among people, potentially sparking a pandemic.
Officials declined to release the sex of the victim, who died January 3.
Dr James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said family members of the victim are being monitored and treated, but that there is nothing to indicate they are sick.—AP