Canadian train quarantine: System worked well, except that person who died was 43, not 86, not mid-60s

The train finally arrived in Toronto, some passengers were flaunting free booze as they disembarked while others complained there was no free breakfast (is that a good combination for people stuck on a train an additional 11 hours?), and health-types have proclaimed the great train quarantine of 2008 a success in public health emergency preparedness.

Except for some errant communications bout the female who died.

She was initially identified Friday as in her 60s, by Saturday she was 86, and today, authorities said she was a 43-year-old from South Africa.

UPDATE: No evidence of infectious disease outbreak in train passenger death

Health officials have determined that the death of a passenger on a VIA train in Canada and the
illness of  another six passengers are not related.

Federal, provincial and local public health officials say there is no evidence of an infectious disease
outbreak in connection with the death of a passenger on a VIA train en route today from Vancouver to Toronto. Lab results so far are all negative for the flu and other respiratory illness.

The train is expected to resume its journey later today.

And that makes Charlie happy.

Update: Via Rail train quarantined in N. Ontario after mystery illness hits passengers

In an update, Canadian Press reports that a woman in her 60s has died and several others have fallen ill on a halted Via Rail passenger train in northern Ontario that was en route from Vancouver to Toronto. The victim apparently boarded the train in Jasper, Alberta.

Ambulances and police scrambled to the tiny hamlet of Foleyet early Friday morning and have now quarantined the train, which was carrying about 260 passengers and 30 crew members.

As many as 10 people were reported to have flu-like symptoms and at least one person has been airlifted to the Timmins and District Hospital.

The illnesses appeared to be contained to two train cars.

Only emergency response personnel were being allowed on or off the train and could only get on board with full protective gear.

Deborah DesRochers, chairwoman of the town of 380 about 100 kilometres southwest of Timmins, said,

"The whole place is being overrun with ambulances and police cars, and we’ve got helicopters. They’ve got the train quarantined. They’re trying to isolate what it is."

Provincial police Const. Marc Depatie said officials are still trying to determine exactly what caused the illnesses on the train and whether they’re at all related to the fatality.

"We don’t know if the element is viral or bacterial or a case of food poisoning."

Train quarantined south of Timmins, Ontario

A VIA train bound for Toronto with more than 260 passengers aboard has been stopped north of Timmins after one person died and five other people became ill with flu-like symptoms.

Ontario Provincial Police emergency workers with full protective gear were called to the train and about 10 people have been taken to hospital in Timmins. The rest of the passengers on the train have been quarantined.

The train originated in Jasper, Alberta.

 And in a good use of technology, the Toronto Star says,

Are you on the train or know someone who is? Call us a 1-800-268-9756.

Bird flu may kill badminton grand prix

The Times of India reports today that avian influenza may cost India its first grand prix badminton tournament.  The story says:

Bird flu outbreaks in China had made India ban import of all premium goose feathers of Chinese origin to manufacture shuttlecocks.
In a last-minute bid to save India the blushes, BAI president V K Verma has shot off letters to secretaries in the animal husbandry department and the ministries of health and agriculture, as well as to the Sports Authority of India, urging them to review the ban.

Interesting fallout from the animal disease outbreak.

Is vomiting a symptom of bird flu?

Apparently that’s what a flight crew on a Korean Air flight to Auckland thought when they alerted police on the ground that a passenger was vomiting, or "displaying bird flu symptoms".  According to an AP report in the New York Times today:

Crew on the flight, from South Korea via Australia, alerted airport authorities when the woman began vomiting and showing other possible bird flu symptoms, sparking a lockdown on the tarmac as the plane landed, said Norman Upjohn, an ambulance duty manager.
The 223 people aboard the Boeing 747 were held for about an hour under ”full quarantine procedure” while a paramedic in protective clothing examined the woman, Upjohn said.

South Korea declared itself bird flu free in June, after reporting no new cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu — in birds or humans — for three months.

I sure hope that no one with a bit of vomit or diarrhea flies to NZ from the UK this week.