Earlier today, I posted an item about a claim by the blog Pissin' on the Roses: that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had lied by claiming the Alberta H5N1 case had come home from Beijing without respiratory symptoms.
But POTR didn't make an ironclad case; it simply assumed the Canadian news sources reporting this had been so informed by PHAC. Therefore, if the new EID study said the case did have respiratory symptoms, PHAC must have lied to the media.
When I went back to what Health Minister said back on January 9, I saw she said very little specific about the case's symptoms. So I sent an email to the Alberta Provincial Laboratory for Public Health, which did the EID study. The corresponding author, Dr. Kevin Fonseca, promptly wrote back to say:
"The information we published in the EID article regarding the respiratory symptoms of this case was obtained directly from the patient's family and the attending physicians, which are given in the ProMed article and the online supplementary material for this publication, which I assume you can access?"
Here is Technical Appendix 1 to the EID study, which describes the case symptoms (but does not specify respiratory problems); the ProMED-mail post includes a January 8 CBC News report quoting Dr. James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, as saying "There were no respiratory symptoms."
On January 11, Dr. Fonseca posted a case report in ProMED-mail describing the original symptoms as "malaise, chest pain, and fever."
So the situation still seems a bit confused. I'm quite prepared to believe Dr. Fonseca when he says the case's family and attending physicians described her respiratory problems. Perhaps "chest pain" is ipso facto a respiratory problem. Perhaps Dr. Talbot misunderstood what he had learned about the case before speaking to the media.
But I don't see any evidence that PHAC deliberately lied to the media.