Infectious Diseases: Are We Ready?

An Edmonton company's epidemic-tracking system could save lives. So why isn't government buying it?

Source: Kevin Libin |

A young man, just returned home from a trip to Hong Kong, shows up at his doctor's office in Vancouver, complaining of flu-like symptoms. As the physician begins cataloguing them–fever, cough, aches, pinkish eyes–she senses there may be more here than a run-of-the-mill flu bug. Her hunch will turn out to be correct: the patient is the first Canadian carrier of the deadly avian flu virus. But even before that diagnosis becomes official, what steps the doctor takes in the next few hours could be critical–not only for the young traveller and his family, but for the entire nation.

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