H1N1 case detected in Ontario after man has contact with pigs
New SARS-related virus has health officials on high alert
Global health officials are closely following a new respiratory virus related to SARS that is believed to have killed at least one person in Saudi Arabia and left another person in critical condition in Britain.
The germ is a coronavirus, from a family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed some 800 people, mostly in Asia, in a 2003 epidemic.
n the latest case, British officials alerted the World Health Organization on Saturday of the new virus in a man who transferred from Qatar to be treated in London. He had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia and is now being treated in an intensive care unit after suffering kidney failure.
Health officials don’t know yet whether the virus could spread as rapidly as SARS did or if it might kill as many people.
TORONTO — A case of H1N1 variant influenza has been detected in Ontario.
The province’s chief medical officer of health issued a statement this morning saying the adult male patient became ill after having “close contact with pigs.”
Dr. Arlene King says the man is confirmed as having been infected with an H1N1 variant (H1N1v) influenza virus.
An influenza virus that normally circulates in animals is referred to as a variant virus when it infects humans.
King says the man, who is not being identified, is being treated and closely monitored in a hospital in southwestern Ontario.
She says people should be assured that the variant influenza virus rarely spreads from animals to humans and that subsequent human-to-human transmission is also rare.
“I would also like to stress that this is not a food safety issue; the consumption of properly cooked pork continues to be safe,” King said.
“Proper cooking of meats, including pork, kills all bacteria and viruses.”
King says hand washing is the best way to guard against infection from respiratory illnesses such as influenza and adds it is important to get immunized every year with the seasonal flu vaccine when it becomes available in the fall.
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