Last week, Canadian public health officials announced the arrival of yet another potentially deadly virus on our soil. This time, the culprit was a form of influenza -- avian influenza to be exact -- known as H7N9. This marked the second time in a year a deadly influenza virus had traveled from the Far East to Canada.
When it comes to the introduction of foreign deadly diseases, Canada need not worry. Due to the experience of one unexpected surprise, the SARS outbreak of 2003, and the resultant Commission that followed, Canada went from being unprepared to ready for anything.
Yesterday's announcement that the H5N1 avian flu had led to a death in Canada has taken public health officials -- and the general public -- by surprise. But while the revelation may signal the manifestation of many a fictionalized account of pandemics, the reality is that this is by no means a reason for panic.
It all started back in September of 2011 when Dr. Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center gave a talk in Malta on his experiments with H5N1. A few out of context statements later, the world was facing a panic about a "doomsday pandemic" that didn't exist. Today the article that caused so much panic and dismay has been published and the world now has a chance to see what all the fuss was about.