First Human Death of A(H5N2) Reported | Credits: AP Photo

Mysterious Bird Flu: First Human Death of A(H5N2) Reported

United States: The threat of bird flu, also known as avian flu, increased after the first-ever death associated with the infection, which was reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The case has been identified in the State of Mexico in a 59-year-old individual. The first-ever death due to the virus was reported on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

This individual had been admitted to a hospital in Mexico City, where they eventually passed away on April 24 after experiencing fever, dyspnea, diarrhea, nausea, and malaise. WHO noted in a statement that although the specific source of the A(H5N2) virus exposure is yet undetermined, this virus strain has been identified in poultry within Mexico, according to the reports by Reuters.

Despite this incident, WHO maintains that the risk of bird flu to the general populace remains minimal.

First-ever Death Due to Bird Flu

Significantly, this represents the first globally confirmed human infection with the influenza A(H5N2) virus and the inaugural report of an avian H5 virus infection in a human within Mexico. The case stands distinct from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in the United States, which has afflicted three dairy farm laborers thus far.

Mexico’s Health Ministry echoed the uncertainty surrounding the infection’s source, noting the absence of any exposure history to poultry or other animals. The decedent had been bedridden for three weeks due to various other chronic ailments before the acute symptoms emerged. The health ministry disclosed that the individual had chronic renal disease and type 2 diabetes, conditions which markedly heighten vulnerability to severe influenza, even of the seasonal variety.

Andrew Pekosz, an influenza specialist at Johns Hopkins University, emphasized the severity risk posed by underlying conditions, adding that the pathway of infection in this case remains a substantial enigma that the initial report does not adequately elucidate, as per Reuters.

In March, Mexico reported an outbreak of A(H5N2) in a secluded family cluster in Michoacan state. The authorities assured that this outbreak posed no threat to distant commercial farms or public health.

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