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Canada reports first H5N1 bird flu death in North America

Published on Jan 9, 2014 5:52 AM

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada announced on Wednesday the first H5N1 avian flu death in North America, in the western plains province of Alberta, of a patient who had just returned from China.

It was also the first known instance of someone in North America contracting the illness, Canada Health Minister Rona Ambrose told a press conference, stressing it was an “isolated case.” Officials said the victim, whose gender and other details were withheld to protect the family’s privacy, had recently returned from a trip to Beijing.

“I am here to confirm North America’s first human case of H5N1, also known as avian flu,” Mr Ambrose said, confirming the patient died.

“I want to reassure the public this is an isolated case and the risk of H5N1 to Canadians is very low. There is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission,” the minister added.

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