Infectious Diseases 2004

Infectious Diseases 2004

Vancouver, Canada: Second person tests positive for Avian Influenza

1 April, 2004

A second farmworker in the Fraser Valley has been diagnosed with Avian influenza by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. BCCDC spokesperson Dr. Danuta Skowronksi says it's a worker who health officials had previously identified with mild illness in connection with the outbreak.
She says both infected workers are now fully recovered from mild flu symptoms.
Dr. Skowronski says up to 12 people who came in close contact with infected birds have shown signs of the H7 strain - and that the BCCDC is still waiting for more test results.
Canada continues to monitor the avian influenza situation in British Columbia very closely. There is no evidence to date of human to human spread of the virus. Both cases of H7 infections detected to date followed close contact with infected birds and both workers have now fully recovered after experiencing only mild symptoms.
While the virus in these two workers has been identified as H7, the full subtype has yet to be determined. Poultry within the region have been affected by the H7N3 subtype. Specimens from these workers have been sent to Health Canada's National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg, Man., to determine the subtype of the virus.
Additional workers involved in culling operations have also reported mild symptoms to local public health authorities. All of these workers have had close contact with the infected birds. They have experienced mild symptoms that included conjunctivitis, cough or runny nose. Most have fully recovered and the rest are recovering. Tests to date have not identified the H7 virus in any of the other workers. At this time of year there are many causes of mild respiratory symptoms.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), in consultation with Health Canada, provincial health authorities, and the local Medical Officer of Health, has taken extensive precautions to protect the health of those involved in the avian influenza investigation and response. Personal protective measures when in close contact with infected birds remain extremely important. These measures include frequent hand washing, personal protective equipment, influenza immunization and treatment with antiviral drugs.
Working with Health Canada and the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Fraser Valley Health Authority has implemented enhanced surveillance for conjunctivitis and upper respiratory symptoms in the people involved in the culling and those exposed to poultry on farms infected with avian influenza or in the high risk zone for poultry outbreaks. The health of people exposed to the infected flocks is being closely monitored.