Via the Edmonton Journal, a Canadian Press story very likely written by Helen Branswell (and if it wasn't, the follow-ups will be): Fatal case of H5N1 bird flu reported in Alberta, first North American case. Excerpt:
Federal public health officials say a fatal human case of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Canada, the first such case in North America.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the case, which was located in Alberta, was an isolated one and that the risk to the general public is small.
"The risk of getting H5N1 is very low," Ambrose told a hastily assembled news conference in Ottawa via conference call.
"This case is not part of the seasonal flu, which circulates in Canada every year."
The H5N1 strain is unrelated to the seasonal flu outbreak, Ambrose added.
Health officials say the victim had travelled to China last month and was hospitalized after returning to Alberta on Jan. 1, then died two days later.
They say that while it remains unclear how the person contracted the virus, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
"The health system did everything it could for this individual, and our thoughts are with the family at this time," Ambrose said.
Dr. James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said that family members of the victim are being monitored and treated with medication, noting that there's nothing to indicate they are sick.
"Public health has followed up with all close contacts of this individual and offered Tamiflu as a precaution," Talbot said.
Meanwhile, @HelenBranswell is tweeting updates; if you haven't been following her, now is the time.
I'm going to try to listen in on a teleconference with the BC medical officer of health at 2:30 PST, and will keep posting here whenever I can. I'll also post an item about it on The Tyee's blog, The Hook, sometime late this afternoon or this evening.