Alberta resident dies in hospital from avian flu
Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014 2:16PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, January 9, 2014 12:15PM MST
The January 3, 2014, death of an individual in an Alberta hospital has been confirmed to be the result of the H5N1 bird flu, the first human case of H5N1 in North America.
According to Alberta Health Services, the resident travelled to China in December of 2013 and was admitted to hospital on January 1, 2014, following their return to Alberta.
The individual started feeling unwell on her flight home from Beijing, but officials say there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission on the plane.
Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says the H5N1 case was an isolated incident and is not related to the recent outbreak of H1N1 in the province.
“This is a very rare and isolated case,” said Dr. Talbot. “Avian influenza is not easily transmitted from person to person. It is not the same virus that is currently present in seasonal influenza in Alberta.
Officials offered Tamiflu to the individual's family members and health workers who came into contact with the H5N1 affected patient as a precautionary measure.
“I expect that with the rarity of transmission and the additional precautions taken, there will be no more cases in Alberta,” said Talbot.
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne has extended his condolences to the family of the deceased.
The World Health Organization received 24 reports of H5N1 avian influenza related deaths in 2013.
The identity of the deceased has not been released.
With files from CTVNews.ca