Alberta H5N1 bird flu victim passed through Vancouver airport

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An Alberta resident who died of H5N1 avian influenza after returning from a trip to China had a layover at Vancouver International Airport.

But B.C.'s provincial health officer says it's not likely that the sick traveller, who is the first person in North America to die from H5N1, passed on the disease to anyone at YVR.

"This individual did travel through the Vancouver International Airport on their way to Edmonton and we have confirmed that the individual spent 2.5 hours in Vancouver airport on Dec. 27 between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., awaiting a connecting flight," Dr. Perry Kendall said in a statement today (January 8).

"From what we know about H5N1, human-to-human transmission is very rare and, if it occurs, is confined to close family contacts. It is, therefore, extremely unlikely that any passengers or casual contacts would have been at risk. Furthermore, the average incubation period for H5N1 infection is between three and four days, so anyone who might have been exposed to this patient would, by now, have developed recognizable signs and symptoms."

The individual in question travelled to Beijing in December. On January 1, this person was admitted to a hospital in Edmonton for severe respiratory illness, and went on to die on January 4.

According to Kendall, H5N1 has not been discovered in B.C. during this flu season.

"As always, travellers who develop new respiratory symptoms accompanied by breathing difficulty or other signs of worsening within two weeks of their return should consult a physician with information about their travel history," Kendall said.

"Most respiratory illness at this time of year, including among returning travellers, will be due to common viral illness such as seasonal influenza, including the H1N1 virus."

A news release issued today by Alberta Health notes that 24 people died (out of 38 cases) worldwide from H5N1 in 2013.

Comments (3) Add New Comment
SARS2
This is incredibly stupid of Canada NOT to check via auto Body Temperature checks prior to boarding of all passengers from Asia.

Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam and the Philippines to name a few.

In China and Hong Kong authorities check people coming INTO their Territory with automatic body Temperature scans as you walk into the Terminals.

Any abnormal readings get a secondary check and / or Quarantine!!!

Obviously they don't check nor do they care when sick people leave China or Hong Kong it becomes our problem.

Instead nothing is being done by either the Airlines or Governments both Provincial and Federal.

It seems Canada has learned NOTHING from the SARS outbreak that hit Toronto the hardest.
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Taiwanese
Taiwan is so far advanced and proactive with these types of situations. Everyone is scanned through body temperature and infrared detector and there is a suspect, they will check you out and suggest that you stay at your place fir 2 weeks so you won't spread it just in case if they have it or not as a precaution.. China is not Taiwan so don't mix the 2 up.
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Tommy
Greatful to have survived h1n1(swine flu) it lasted 24 hrs(greatful to have a superior immune system so far) but it took nearly an entire week to recover from the crippling physical shock - the severe headache & body aches. I haven't taken any shots of any kind yet as i'm still at odds about it - well more so scared of something severe happening as a result of the shot that the medical community has swept those stories under the carpet & some people knows it's happened to some "lucky" people who have had severe after effects as a result of shots or certain shots. i'm sure it's a benefit for the greater majority. I believe it's even more of a benefit if people take better care of their health as far as diet, exercise & more so mental health so as to build a stronger shield within the body to fight off these diseases. my thought only.
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