Jun 5, 2024 - Health

Mexico death linked to bird flu not previously seen in humans

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Photo: Getty Images

A strain of bird flu not previously detected in humans claimed the life of a person in Mexico, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Why it matters: It was the first confirmed human case of a strain of bird flu known as H5N2, which differs from the variety driving cases in U.S. cattle.

  • The risk posed by this virus to the general population is currently low, WHO said, noting that H5N2 viruses have previously been reported in poultry in Mexico.

Context: A 59-year-old with no previous exposure to poultry or other animals died on April 24, about one week after developing a fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea and general discomfort.

  • The patient had multiple underlying medical conditions and had been bedridden for three weeks for other reasons before acute symptoms began, according to WHO.
  • The health agency said it's not been possible to establish whether this human case is related to the recent poultry outbreaks.

State of play: Three non-fatal human cases of H5N1 avian flu have been confirmed in the United States this year.

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