Toronto, Jan 27 (IANS/EFE) Canadian authorities have announced the first case of H7N9 bird flu in North America in a woman who recently travelled to China.
"The individual is a resident of British Columbia and was not symptomatic during travel and only became sick after arrival in Canada," the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement Monday. "The individual did not require hospitalisation and is currently recovering from the illness in self-isolation," it added.
The middle-aged woman returned to Canada from China Jan 12 and began to exhibit symptoms of the virus such as fever and coughing shortly after. Gregory Taylor, Canada's chief public health officer, said that the H7N9 strain is not easily transmitted between humans.
"I want to emphasise that the risk to Canadians is very low because there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of H7N9," Taylor said. "H7N9 is an avian form of influenza that circulates among birds. However, this particular strain has never been found in wild or domestic birds in Canada," he added.
"It's also not like H5N1 bird flu (as) H5N1 transmits more easily between birds, and between people," the officer explained. The World Health Organisation has documented 453 cases of H7N9 among humans and 175 deaths caused by the virus.