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Health officials say they have confirmed the first North American case of H5N1 bird flu after a man died in Alberta. Officials say the man contracted the illness in China, and it is thought to be an isolated case.

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The first person to die of avian flu in North America was a registered nurse in a central Alberta hospital.

The woman's family says she grew up in China and moved to Alberta on her own to studying nursing.

The family has released a statement that says the woman, whose name is not being released, worked at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

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The World Health Organization has said she was in her late 20s.

The family says she had been married for 1 1/2 years, had saved for a vacation to her homeland, and made the trip with her mother in December.

Relatives say they are devastated by her death, but are co-operating with health authorities while requesting media respect their privacy.

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