“B.C.’s public health officials are working with national and international authorities to keep a close eye on the H7N9 influenza situation in China.
“The level of risk to British Columbia and Canada is currently considered to be low, with reported cases limited to the eastern provinces of China. As well, to date in China, there have been no reported cases of human-to-human transmission.
“The strain of H7N9 avian influenza causing illness in China has also not been identified in birds or humans in Canada.
“There are detailed protocols in place for dealing with any ill passengers arriving at the airport, and authorities there work in close contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the BC Ambulance Service and the local health authority to assess any potential concerns. PHAC has also recently posted a travel advisory for Canadians planning travel to China, which can be found here: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/h7n9-china
“The enhanced surveillance systems set up following SARS and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, as well as the recent cases of severe acute respiratory illnesses from the Middle East are working well. Clinicians have been alerted to report new cases of severe respiratory illness with links to affected areas of China to public health for investigation.
“The provincial public health laboratory has confirmed that it is well positioned, working with the national public health laboratory, to quickly investigate any new cases of influenza. In addition, B.C. has stockpiles of antiviral drugs ready to deploy in the unlikely event that this virus should spread beyond China.
“As with all influenza, we recommend practising good hand hygiene and washing your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and staying home when sick to reduce your chance of getting sick or passing illness on to others.
“My office will provide additional updates as the need arises or as additional information becomes available.”
For more information, please visit:
The Public Health Agency of Canada:
The World Health Organization FAQ on H7N9: http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/faq_H7N9/en/index.html
Ministry of Health