First Human Death from New H5N2 Bird Flu Strain Reported 

United States: The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday that the first death was considered linked to a particular strain of bird flu in Mexico. 

More about the news 

This is the first human case of H5N2 bird flu confirmed by laboratory analysis worldwide and the first-ever bird flu infection in Mexico. 

This flu strain differs from the avian influenza currently affecting commercial poultry in the United States. ABC News reported that it has recently impacted three employees of a dairy farm in the US. 

More about the recent case 

The patient from Mexico was a 59-year-old Mexican resident with no relevant history of contact with poultry or other animals, as seen by the WHO

First Human Death from New H5N2 Bird Flu Strain Reported. Credit | Getty Images
First Human Death from New H5N2 Bird Flu Strain Reported. Credit | Getty Images

On April 17, the patient became febrile with nausea, diarrhea, breathlessness, and general weakness. This might have struck him ill, and he was hence admitted to the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases in Mexico City on April 24, where he died the same day. 

The WHO reported that the relatives of the patient said he had underlying symptoms and could not move from his bed for a whole three weeks with other ailments before he developed bird flu. 

As per the statement made by Mexico’s Health Ministry on Wednesday night, the patient had “a history of chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes [and] long-term systemic arterial hypertension.” 

New strain associated with the case 

Final tests confirmed that the patient had contracted bird flu subtype H5N2, a strain not previously recorded in humans

Of the 17 contacts the patient had at the hospital, only one reported a runny nose in the last week of April. Samples from the contacts were negative for flu and COVID-19 transmission. 

Outside the patient’s residence, about seven people exposed to the patient showed symptoms; three were asymptomatic, and five others had contact. Nasal, throat, and blood samples were taken from the contacts. 

Tests from nasopharyngeal and throat swabs did not show coronavirus, and blood sample results are still pending. 

Statements made by the officials 

Mexico’s Ministry of Health stated on Wednesday that “all samples from identified contacts have been negative” for H5N2. 

The WHO stated that while human infection connected with bird flu has the potential for high public health impact, the current risk for the general population remains low. 

The Ministry of Health in Mexico emphasized, “There is no risk of contagion for the population with the detection of the first human case of low pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N2) in Mexico, as there is no identified source of infection,” as reported by ABC News.