A woman from the Quebec City region, over the age of 65, is the first person in the province to die from the A H1N1 flu virus.
Citing privacy concerns, Quebec's public health director Alain Poirier would not further identify the woman.
But he said she also had bacterial pneumonia, a respiratory ailment, which contributed to her death. The woman died last Friday, three days after she was admitted to hospital, Poirier said.
So far, 542 cases of H1N1, also known as swine flu, have been identified in the province.
"We knew we would have deaths," Poirier said, stressing that the woman's bacterial infection was also a factor.
"We cannot extrapolate," Poirier added.
The public health director has previously said the virus is milder than expected, but public health authorities are watchful because it is a new virus, no vaccine exists and the virus could mutate.
Poirier said the woman had not travelled to Mexico, where the first cases were identified, and he had no information on how she contracted the disease.
The government website, www.pandemiequebec.gouv.qc.ca states that Quebec does not have a pandemic.
Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to those of the regular seasonal flu: fever, coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache and muscular pain. Patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Preventive measures include covering the mouth and nose with a tissue to block coughs and sneezes, then disposing of the tissue.
And in the absence of a tissue, people should cough or sneeze into their elbow.
Regular hand washing or disinfecting is advised and people who have the disease should stay home to limit exposure to others.
A child in generally good health, who contracts the disease, should recover easily, the website says, adding that symptoms affecting children can differ from those of adults so parents should be vigilant.
Call Info-Santé at 8-1-1 or see a doctor if your child presents these symptoms:
- Under age two with a temperature of 38 C or 100.4 F;
- If the child has fever or a chronic immunodeficient condition;
- If the child is very sick, without energy and difficult to awaken.