TORONTO (Reuters) - Internet speculation over a potential human case of bird flu in the Canadian province of Quebec is untrue, health officials said on Wednesday.
"It's a false rumor," Dr. Patrick Dolce, head of infection control at the hospital in Rimouski, Quebec, told Reuters. "Everything is false; there is no patient, no nothing."
His remarks echoed those of Quebec Health Ministry spokeswoman Helene Gingras, who also said the rumors were "not true."
Earlier, at least one Web site dedicated to avian flu posted a report of a 9-year-old boy hospitalized in Rimouski, a town of about 42,000, roughly 300 km (193 miles) north of Quebec City.
The Internet discussion forum, which cited no specific sources and was headlined "Suspect H5N1 Patient in Rimouski Quebec Canada?" stated the boy had pneumonia and was in isolation.
H5N1 is a strain of bird flu that is potentially deadly to humans. Experts fear it could trigger a pandemic if it evolves to become easily transmissible between people.© Reuters 2006