Flu: Infection source under investigation
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.