Avian flu flies to Canada

Alberta resident first in North America to die from H5N1 avian flu

The death of a person in western Canada following a trip to China was the first deadly case of H5N1 avian flu in North America, Canadian health officials confirmed.

Canada Minister of Health Rona Ambrose said the individual had traveled to Beijing in December and returned home to Alberta, according to RT News. H5NI typically targets domestic poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East and rarely infects humans. There were 38 human cases reported last year, 24 of which were deadly.

Though officials will be contacting everyone who was aboard the same flights as the deceased individual, they believe no one is at risk.

“Avian influenza is not easily transmitted from person to person,” said Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.