- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

TORONTO (AP) - Canadian health authorities said Monday they have diagnosed a case of bird flu in a British Columbia woman who recently returned from China and suspect a man who travelled with her also had it.

This is the first time this particular type of bird flu - H7N9- has been detected in a Canadian or American. The strain first emerged in China two years ago and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry.

Officials said testing is being done to determine if the man who travelled with her was also infected. The couple is their 50s and got sick within a day of each other.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the risk to Canadians is low. This virus does not appear to transmit easily from person to person.

“It is extremely unlikely we will see additional cases,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. She added that both patients were recovering well and no longer have any symptoms.

Nearly 500 human infections with this strain have occurred and about a third of those cases have died.

Officials said it was unclear where they were exposed. They hadn’t been to farm or market while in China but had toured villages where poultry are seen throughout the village, officials said.

Both were given anti-viral medication and are recovering in self-imposed isolation. Both reported having a fever and a cough.

“Neither of the patients were sick enough to require hospitalization,” Henry said.

Officials stressed it was OK for Canadians to visit China, but urged travelers to wash their hands.

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