Canada records first H5N1 bird flu death

Patient who had recently returned from trip to Beijing is first recorded death from strain in North America.

Last updated: 09 Jan 2014 03:18
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China has been vaccinating birds against the H5N1 strain of avian flu [EPA]

Canadian health authorities say the first avian flu death in North America, in the western plains province of Alberta, of a patient who had just returned from China. 

"I confirm North America's first human case of H5N1, also known as avian flu," Canada Health Minister Rona Ambrose said on Wednesday.

Officials said the victim, whose identity was withheld to protect the family's privacy, had recently returned from a trip to Beijing. The victim died in the western Canadian province of Alberta on January 3.

Officials warned Canadians to avoid coming into contact with birds in China.

Gregory Taylor, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said the death was an isolated case.
The Alberta health ministry said in a statement that in 2013, there were 38 world-wide cases of H5N1 avian influenza reported to the World Health Organization and 24 deaths.


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