Health Officials Announce First H5N1 Death In North America

Canadian health officials said a fatal case of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Canada, the first of such case in North America.

‘Isolated’ incident

h5n1Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the victim, who was an Alberta resident, was travelling from China when symptoms first appeared.

Health regulators said they wouldn’t identify the victim’s sex, age, or occupation.

Although labelled an “isolated case,” Ambrose points out that the chances of infection to the general public was low.

Fear of disease outbreak

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), it’s difficult to transmit the virus from person to person but when people become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.

Experts are cautious when it comes to bird flu viruses infecting humans. H5N1 infects the lower respiratory tract deep in the lung, which can result to severe pneumonia.

The virus remains hard to catch with most human infections related to contact with infected poultry.