Flu: In­fec­tion source un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Health of­fi­cials sus­pect that the woman and man may have been ex­posed to a com­mon source of in­fec­tion, such as waste at a live poul­try mar­ket in China.

To date, the H7N9 strain has not been de­tected in birds in Canada. Canada does not im­port raw poul­try or raw poul­try prod­ucts from China. This strain is also not sim­i­lar to the H5N1 bird flu, a virus that last year in­fected and killed a young Al­berta woman who had vis­ited Bei­jing. H5N1 trans­mits more eas­ily be­tween birds, and be­tween peo­ple, said Dr. Gre­gory Tay­lor, Canada’s chief public health of­fi­cer in a re­port in the Van­cou­ver Sun.

The vir­u­lent bird flu virus was rec­og­nized in 2013 in China, ac­cord­ing to Hou Yunde, a vi­rol­o­gist and aca­demi­cian at the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing. “It has re­placed H5N1 since 2013 as the dom­i­nant bird flu virus caus­ing in­fec­tions in both birds and hu­mans here,” he said.

Bern­hard Schwart­lander, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s (WHO) China rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said the WHO is not ad­vis­ing spe­cial screen­ing for peo­ple en­ter­ing Canada from China, nor does it rec­om­mend any travel re­stric­tions af­ter Canadian of­fi­cials con­firmed the H7N9 case.

“The risk of the virus spread­ing abroad is low, as there has been no ev­i­dence of sus­tained hu­manto-hu­man trans­mis­sion of ( H7N9),” Schwart­lander said.

Af­ter in­form­ing the WHO, Canada urged its cit­i­zens trav­el­ing to China to avoid con­tact with poul­try and so­called wet mar­kets, which sell and slaugh­ter live poul­try. Shan Juan in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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