Covid-19

First Human Death from Avian Influenza A(H5N2) Reported in Mexico

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The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a somber milestone on Wednesday, confirming the first human death caused by the A(H5N2) subtype of avian influenza. The victim, a 59-year-old resident of Mexico, succumbed to the illness on April 24th after experiencing a rapid decline in health marked by fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea, and general discomfort.

This case marks a significant event, representing the first laboratory-confirmed human infection with the A(H5N2) subtype of bird flu globally and the first H5 virus infection reported in a person within Mexico. Notably, the victim had no documented history of exposure to poultry or other animals, despite the presence of A(H5N2) cases reported in poultry populations within Mexico. This raises concerns about the potential for wider transmission and the need for heightened vigilance.

The deceased individual had pre-existing medical conditions and had been bedridden for three weeks prior to the onset of acute symptoms due to unrelated reasons. This highlights the potential vulnerability of individuals with compromised immune systems to avian influenza viruses.

The WHO emphasizes the importance of continued monitoring and investigation to understand the full extent of the situation and to implement appropriate public health measures. While the current risk of human-to-human transmission of A(H5N2) is considered low, the organization remains vigilant and prepared to respond to any potential developments.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the zoonotic potential of avian influenza viruses and the need for ongoing efforts to prevent and control outbreaks in both animal and human populations. Maintaining good hygiene practices, avoiding contact with sick poultry, and seeking prompt medical attention if experiencing flu-like symptoms are crucial steps in protecting oneself from avian influenza.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09