Via CBC News, a little more: Alberta woman who died of H5N1 was in her 20s. Ecerpt:
The Alberta woman who died of H5N1 bird flu was in her 20s and a health-care worker at Red Deer Hospital.
More details emerged Thursday about the isolated, fatal case of H5N1, or avian influenza, that health officials announced yesterday. It was the first reported death from avian flu in North America.
The infected woman, an Alberta resident who recently travelled to Beijing, China, died Jan. 3.
The World Health Organization is supporting the work of investigators in Canada and China who are trying to piece together how and where she was exposed to the virus.
Dr. Wenqing Zhang, head of the WHO's global influenza program, said Thursday the organization wants to get the big picture of the case.
Zhang told CBC News from Geneva that two main questions need to be answered about the woman's death in Alberta:
• Where did she visit?
• How did the exposure happen?
"At the moment, we know that the woman didn't visit a poultry farm or a poultry market, but that does not necessarily mean [that] exposure was excluded," Zhang said.
The woman was in her 20s and was a health-care worker at Red Deer Regional Hospital. A second focus for the WHO is on close contacts, Zhang said. The goal is to understand whether any human-to-human transmission occurred.
Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease consultant with Toronto's University Health Network who's not with the WHO, says it's "odd" for humans to get infected with H5N1 from a non-poultry source.
"Almost all of the cases that we've heard about going back to the 1990s, there's been direct contact with poultry," said Gardam. "So if this person hasn't visited farms and hasn't been around birds, that's very odd. I imagine they'll be doing a lot of sleuthing in China to figure out what happened."
Red Deer is a pleasant little city about halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. I expect reporters will soon be contacting the hospital and local media, trying to learn more about the patient.