New Human Case of Bird Flu Reported in Mexico, but Experts Say No Need to Panic Yet

Main image to the post New Human Case of Bird Flu Reported in Mexico, but Experts Say No Need to Panic Yet

Is there a new strain of bird flu to be worried about?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported the first confirmed human case of the H5N2 type of bird flu in a 59-year-old man in Mexico who died in April. This has raised concerns about the risk of bird flu spreading among people, especially since the man had no history of exposure to poultry or other animals.

However, experts say that the H5N2 virus that infected the man is a low pathogenic virus, meaning it is unlikely to cause severe illness. They also point out that H5 viruses, in general, struggle to infect people because the cell receptors they target in birds are much different than ours. This is why people typically become infected with H5 viruses through direct contact with birds and poultry, not other humans.

While the H5N1 virus, which has been detected in dairy cows in the U.S., has caused mild infection among three farm workers, it has never caused widespread human-to-human transmission. Experts believe that the H5N1 virus is the one we need to be more concerned about, as it has the potential to acquire mutations that allow it to spill over in humans.

Scientists are still conducting further genetic sequencing of the H5N2 virus that infected the Mexican man to determine whether it poses a risk to humans. However, at this time, there is no need to be overly concerned about the H5N2 virus.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09