EDMONTON — Testing on a woman in northern Alberta who died after contracting swine flu is inconclusive, Alberta’s chief medical officer said.
Dr. Andre Corriveau said a pathology report “does not clarify what role the H1N1 virus may or may not have played in her death.”
Corriveau said the results are not unexpected, given that some people are more susceptible to the flu than others.
Provincial health officials haven’t named the dead woman, but members of the Gift Lake Metis Settlement have identified her as 39-year-old Tina L’Hirondelle.
Corriveau said doctors blamed chronic health conditions when the woman died April 28.
She had no history of travel to Mexico, where the outbreak began, and there was no evidence she’d had contact with anyone who’d been there.
It appears she passed the virus along to a relative who tested positive, but officials say there is no way to tell for sure.
Media reports have identified the relative as L’Hirondelle’s mother. She was said to be in good health and recovering at home.
Howard May of Alberta Health said patients with chronic, pre-existing medical conditions are always at greater risk.
“Even when we do further testing, it is not always clear what the immediate cause of death may have been,” he said.
Previous tests verified the woman had the same mild strain of swine flu as seen in the other confirmed cases in Alberta.
“I would like to stress that releasing this level of detail is all that is allowed by law, and that we will not be providing any further information on the pathology report or the deceased,” May said.