OTTAWA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Canadian died of the H5N1 bird flu two days after being hospitalized, the first fatal case of the deadly virus in North America, Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose confirmed Wednesday.
The patient died Friday in a hospital in Edmonton in the western province of Alberta after symptoms of fever, malaise and headache worsened.
Ambrose said at a teleconference with health officials that lab tests confirmed Tuesday the patient was infected with the bird flu virus H5N1.
She did not identify the gender, age and occupation of the patient, who returned nearly two weeks ago from a trip to the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Ambrose said Canada had notified China and the World Health Organization of the case.
"This is an isolated case," she said. "The risk of getting H5N1 is very low. This is not the regular seasonal flu."
The patient first showed symptoms of the bird flu on a flight from Beijing to Vancouver on Dec. 27, aboard Air Canada flight 030, according to health officials in Alberta.
The passenger then flied to Edmonton on Air Canada flight 244, after spending a few hours in the Vancouver airport.
The other two people travelling with the patient were tracked by officials for 10 days.
A group of people with whom the patient had a close contact were also tracked. Other passengers from the same flights between Beijing and Edmonton were notified.
The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed more than 300 people worldwide since 2003, according to official data.