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Government of Canada and British Columbia confirm case of H7N9 avian influenza in Canada: ex-China

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  • Government of Canada and British Columbia confirm case of H7N9 avian influenza in Canada: ex-China

    Government of Canada and British Columbia confirm case of H7N9 avian influenza in Canada

    B.C. case is the first documented case of H7N9 in humans in Canada

    The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Canada?s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, Terry Lake, British Columbia?s Minister of Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia?s Deputy Provincial Health Officer today confirmed that an individual in B.C. has tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza strain. The individual recently returned to Canada from China. This is the first documented case of H7N9 infection in a human in North America.
    The risk to Canadians of getting sick with H7N9 is very low as evidence suggests that it does not transmit easily from person-to-person.
    The individual is a resident of British Columbia and was not symptomatic during travel and only became sick after arrival in Canada. The individual did not require hospitalization and is currently recovering from their illness, in self-isolation.
    All close contacts of the individual have been identified and their health is being monitored by provincial public health authorities. The Canadian healthcare system has strong procedures and controls in place to respond to and control the spread of infectious diseases and protect healthcare workers.
    The diagnosis of H7N9 was confirmed by both B.C.'s provincial laboratory and the Agency?s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
    The Agency works closely with its national and international partners, including the WHO, to track all types of flu activity in Canada and around the world.
    Though the individual was not symptomatic, and H7N9 does not transmit easily from person-to-person, the Agency is committed to ensuring Canadians have all the information they need, as a result, we are sharing the flight number. The individual was on Air Canada flight 8.
    Quick Facts

    • H7N9 is a type of avian influenza virus that has been seen in people in China since 2013. Almost all of the cases reported contact with poultry, usually in live poultry markets.
    • To date, the H7N9 strain has not been detected in birds in Canada.
    • The Agency?s Travel Health Notices on provide information on how to protect yourself from avian influenza while abroad.
    • There is no risk of catching the virus by eating well-cooked poultry. Canada does not import raw poultry or raw poultry products from China.
    • Canadians can help protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu in general by:
      • Getting an annual influenza shot
      • Washing hands frequently;
      • Covering coughs and sneezes;
      • Keeping common surfaces clean; and
      • Staying home when sick.
    • The Agency has notified China, the World Health Organization and other international partners about the case, in keeping with our commitment under the International Health Regulations.


    ?Today we are confirming the first case of H7N9 in humans in North America. We continue to work with our national and international partners to track infectious disease outbreaks in Canada and around the world to ensure the health and safety of Canadians. Public Health Agency of Canada continues to advise and emphasize that H7N9 does not spread easily from person to person and the risk remains very low.?
    Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Minister of Health

    "The Agency is in close contact with the provincial public health authority to monitor the situation in B.C. and is committed to providing Canadians with accurate and up-to-date information about H7N9 infections and about how Canadians can protect themselves from avian and seasonal influenzas at home and abroad. The risk of H7N9 to Canadians is very low as there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.?
    Dr. Gregory Taylor
    Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

    ?I would like to reassure British Columbians that while we have identified the first case of influenza H7N9 here in BC, the risk to the public remains very low. This strain does not transmit easily from person to person, and I am pleased to report that the patient is recovering. I would like to send my best wishes to them, and would also like to thank our dedicated public health officials for their commitment to protecting the health and safety of all British Columbians.?
    Terry Lake
    Minister of Health, British Columbia

    ?This represents the first time that we have confirmed influenza H7N9 in North America, but it is a strain that we in the public health community have been watching closely since 2013. I would like to stress that the risk remains very low to the public. This individual did not need to be hospitalized, and is recovering well at home, away from the public. Public health officials are doing comprehensive follow up with contacts to ensure that there is no further spread.?
    Dr. Bonnie Henry
    Deputy Provincial Health Officer

    Related Products

    Travel Health Notice for Avian Influenza
    Public Health Notice: H7N9 Avian Influenza in China

    Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200
    Media Relations
    Public Health Agency of Canada
    (613) 957-2983

  • #2

    North America's first human case of H7N9 virus confirmed in B.C.
    New bird flu strain passes quickly to humans

    Sonja Puzic,
    Published Monday, January 26, 2015 2:15PM EST
    Last Updated Monday, January 26, 2015 3:01PM EST

    North America?s first human case of the H7N9 virus, a new type of avian influenza, has been confirmed in British Columbia, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced Monday.

    A couple in their 50s from B.C.?s lower mainland recently returned from a trip to China and began developing symptoms of a flu-like illness within a day or two of each other, health officials said.

    The H7N9 virus was confirmed in the female patient, who saw her family doctor when she fell ill, but did not require hospitalization. It?s believed that the woman?s partner also contracted H7N9, but that has not yet been confirmed.

    Both people have been treated with anti-viral medication and are now recovering, health officials said...


    • #3
      B.C. resident diagnosed with first North American case of H7N9 avian flu

      Kelly Grant
      The Globe and Mail
      Published Monday, Jan. 26 2015, 2:23 PM EST
      Last updated Monday, Jan. 26 2015, 5:02 PM EST

      ...In the case of the British Columbia couple, public health officials are not certain precisely where or how they contracted the virus. They did not visit any Chinese farms or live poultry markets, which are common places for H7N9 to make the leap from birds to humans. They were part of an organized tour for part of their trip, but travelled on their own as well.
      ?They did some touring of areas and villages in China where poultry are seen throughout the village, but there was not a particularly high-risk exposure that we were able to identify,? said Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's deputy provincial health officer.
      The couple flew home on Air Canada Flight 8 from Hong Kong to Vancouver, landing Jan. 12.
      However, neither was symptomatic on the plane, so public health officials believe it is highly unlikely they transmitted the virus to others on the flight. Doctors believe both contracted the virus directly from a bird while in China; they do not think one member of the couple passed it to the other.
      A few days after returning from their vacation, the man began to experience flu-like symptoms. The next day, the woman fell ill, too. She visited her family doctor, who took a swab that was sent on for testing, first at a provincial laboratory in British Columbia and then at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
      Both were treated with antiviral medication and neither required hospitalization.


      • #4
        Canada finds case of H7N9 bird flu in traveller; first in North America


        TORONTO - A woman from British Columbia is the first person in North America to be diagnosed with H7N9 bird flu, after apparently contracting the virus while travelling in China earlier this month, Canadian health officials said Monday.

        Her husband, who had been travelling with her, was also sick with an influenza-like illness around the same time and it's believed he too was infected, but test results are still pending, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s deputy provincial health officer.

        "We're quite confident he had the same thing," Henry said in a telephone interview.
        ''It was very classic influenza. Fever and a cough," said Dr. Reka Gustafson, medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.

        "Though one of the individuals we interviewed said that it did feel a little bit different. That's probably about as close as she could describe it. And it felt different enough for her to seek care."
        The couple returned to Canada from China on Jan. 12. Two days later, the husband became ill with influenza-like symptoms. A day after, the wife developed the same symptoms, and decided to seek medical help.
        British Columbia — like the rest of the country — has been in the grips of a very active seasonal flu outbreak this month. The woman's doctor could easily have diagnosed influenza based on the woman's symptoms and sent her home to rest and recover.

        Instead, the physician swabbed the woman's throat and sent the test to the provincial laboratory for testing.

        The next day, when she received confirmation that her patient was infected with an influenza A virus, the doctor prescribed the flu drug oseltamivir — sold under the brand name Tamiflu — for the woman and her husband.
        "If she had not done that test — both of them recovered uneventfully, they were given Tamiflu by the family doctor — we never would have known."

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