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Canada finds case of H7N9 bird flu in B.C. traveller; first in North America

Health workers in full protective gear pick up a killed chicken after suffocated them by using carbon dioxide at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Canadian health authorities say they have have diagnosed a case of H7N9 bird flu in a British Columbia resident who recently returned from China.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Vincent Yu
January 26, 2015 - 6:45 PM

TORONTO - Canadian health authorities say they have diagnosed a case of H7N9 bird flu in a British Columbia woman who recently returned from China.

It's the first time this particular type of bird flu has been found in North America.

A senior public health official in British Columbia says a man who travelled with the infected person was recently sick as well.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says additional testing is being done to determine if the second person was also infected.

Henry says the two people are from B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

Neither of the two people were sick enough to require hospitalization and both are recovering.

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the risk to Canadians is low because this strain of bird flu does not transmit easily from person to person.

Nearly 500 human infections with this strain of bird flu have occurred since the virus first emerged in China in 2013 and about a third of those cases have died.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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