H7N9 Bird Flu Outbreak, Deaths Prompt BC Health Alert

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VICTORIA - Health officials in B.C. are on alert after the latest bird flu outbreak in China has killed six people.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says health authorities are working with their federal and international counterparts to keep a close eye on the H7N9 virus.

He says the risk in Canada is low and there have been no reported cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

Kendall says surveillance systems set up following an earlier bird flu outbreak in 2009 and the SARS outbreak are working well, with detailed protocols in place to deal with anyone who arrives at a B.C. airport sick.

He says provincial and federal health labs are ready to investigate any new cases of influenza and B.C. has a stockpile of antiviral drugs in case the virus spreads beyond China.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has also posted an advisory about the virus for Canadians planning travel to
China.

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