On his VDU's blog, Dr. Ian Mackay comments on H5N1: 1st fatal case in North America...[UPDATED x4-FINAL]. After a concise summary, he goes on to say:
As ever, these sporadic imported cases also serve to highlight that the pathogen is circulating at the source. The route of acquisition for this case is unclear at this stage. H5N1 does not readily transmit among humans requiring close contact with birds and there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission.
When a human does become infected by the virus, severe acute respiratory distress syndrome can result. This is ascribed to the availability of receptors in the deeper airways and lungs, which bind the virus and trigger the person's own immune-mediated disease via a "cytokine storm"; a large scale release of the chemicals our bodies usually employ to keep virus infections in check, but on a larger scale with more severe consequences to the host. Such a storm does not commonly occur following infection by a seasonal influenza virus (e.g. H3N2) infection,
The WHO does not list any H5N1 cases in the area around Beijing on its 2013 map (18-Dec-2013). An out-of-date timeline of "major" H5N1 events lists human cases in Beijing in Nov-2003 and Dec-2008. Major outbreaks among birds in China have centered around Qinghai lake.
There is no H5N1 component in the current seasonal influenza vaccine, but then there is no significant risk to the Canadian public health from H5N1.