Fatal case of H5N1 bird flu reported in Alberta, first North American case

OTTAWA - Federal public health officials say a fatal case of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Canada, the first such case in North America.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the case, which was located in Alberta, was an isolated one and that the risk to the general public is very low.

Officials say the H5N1 strain is unrelated to the seasonal flu outbreak.

The victim was apparently travelling from China when symptoms first appeared and later died in hospital.

Officials say that while they don't know how the virus was contracted, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The World Health Organization says that as of mid-December, there had been 648 laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 flu, reported from 15 countries. Of that total, 384 infections have been fatal.

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