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First-ever human death of bird flu strain H5N2 confirmed in Mexico: WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the first laboratory-confirmed fatal human case of avian influenza A(H5N2) in Mexico.

The avian influenza A (H5N2) had only previously been reported in birds.

On May 23, Mexican health officials confirmed a case of the H5N2 bird flu strain in a 59-year-old resident of the State of Mexico, who had been hospitalized in Mexico City.

“This is the first laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with an influenza A(H5N2) virus reported globally and the first avian H5 virus infection in a person reported in Mexico,” the WHO said in a statement.


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It started on April 17 when the patient, who has underlying health conditions, developed a fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea and general malaise, the WHO said. On April 24, the patient sought medical care and was hospitalized and died the same day due to complications of his condition.

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Although the source of exposure to the virus in this case is currently unknown, A(H5N2) viruses have been reported in poultry in Mexico, the WHO added.

Based on available information, the WHO said it assessed the current risk to the general population posed by this virus as low.

The bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species in several countries since 2020. The H5N1 strain was detected in U.S. dairy herds in March, and since then at least three people — all workers at farms with infected cows — have been diagnosed with bird flu, although the illnesses were considered mild.

— With files from Reuters

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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First-ever human death of bird flu strain H5N2 confirmed in Mexico: WHO

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