Flu linked to death of woman

Provincial health officials confirmed Friday that swine flu was a contributing factor in the death of a northern Alberta woman who had other chronic medical conditions.

Provincial health officials confirmed Friday that swine flu was a contributing factor in the death of a northern Alberta woman who had other chronic medical conditions.

It’s the first death in Canada associated with the global H1N1 outbreak.

Dr. Andre Corriveau said the woman was in her 30s. He said her other medical conditions were originally blamed for her death on April 28. But health officials went back and did tests after a relative contracted a mild form of the swine flu illness on May 5.

Those tests came back positive for the virus.

“There is nothing that is really different for us from a public health perspective,” Corriveau said, adding the patient only had a mild form of the flu and it is unknown what role it played in her death.

Dr. Gerry Predy, a senior medical officer of health, said more may be known about her case after the final pathology report is finished next week.

The woman had no history of travel to Mexico, where the outbreak began. It appears that she gave the virus to the relative who tested positive, but there is no way to tell for sure, officials said.

The 300 people who attended the woman’s funeral are now being monitored for any signs of the illness. Officials would not release where the woman lived.

Corriveau said the woman’s age is not a concern for health officials because she had other medical conditions, putting her at increased risk.

“It’s something that happens usually in vulnerable people whatever age they might be at,” he said. “I don’t think the age is much relevant here. It’s really the cluster of underlying conditions that would make somebody vulnerable.”

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