OTTAWA – Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’sDeputy Provincial Health Officer today confirmed that the second individual in B.C. has now tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza strain. As noted by health officials on January 26th, the husband and wife recently returned to Canada from China.
The risk to Canadians of getting sick with H7N9 is very low as evidence suggests that it does not transmit easily from person-to-person. Since both cases became symptomatic one day apart, it is likely they were exposed to a common source, rather than one having been infected by the other.
These individuals are residents of British Columbia and were not symptomatic during travel and began showing symptoms after arrival in Canada. The individuals did not require hospitalization and are currently recovering from their illness.
All close contacts of the individuals have been identified and their health is being monitored by provincial public health authorities. The Canadian healthcare system has strong procedures and controls in place to respond to and control the spread of infectious diseases and protect healthcare workers.
The first individual’s diagnosis of H7N9 was confirmed by both the B.C. provincial laboratory and the Agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg on Monday, January 26th. The second individual diagnosis of H7N9 was confirmed by both the B.C. provincial laboratory and the NML late on January 29th.
The Agency works closely with its national and international partners, including the WHO, to track all types of flu activity in Canada and around the world.