Bird Flu Panic: First-Ever Fatal Case Confirmed in Mexico – WHO Issues Warning

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The World Health Organization announced the confirmation of the first laboratory-confirmed human case of the H5N2 strain of bird flu in Mexico. This case marks the first-ever reported human infection of this specific bird flu subtype globally.

Unlike the strain of bird flu currently affecting livestock in the United States, this H5N2 case in Mexico has no known history of exposure to poultry or other animals. The infected patient, a 59-year-old resident, showed symptoms of fever, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and malaise before being hospitalized and unfortunately passing away on the same day.

The patient had underlying health conditions, including chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and long-term systemic arterial hypertension, according to Mexico’s Ministry of Health. Tests confirmed that the patient was infected with the H5N2 strain, a virus never before documented in humans.

Despite the gravity of the situation, health officials have not documented any additional cases related to this unique bird flu infection. The WHO and Mexico’s Ministry of Health have conducted investigations and taken samples from individuals who came into contact with the patient, yielding negative results for flu and COVID-19.

The global health agency emphasized the potential public health impact of human infections with bird flu but noted that the current risk to the general population remains low. While the H5N2 strain is novel in human cases, there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission thus far.

In the United States, a separate outbreak of the H5N1 strain has affected birds and older dairy cows, resulting in mild symptoms for farmworkers. The CDC has reassured the public of the low risk of transmission from animals to humans and between humans in these cases.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and expert at Boston Children’s Hospital, stresses the importance of continued surveillance of influenza viruses in animals and humans. The emergence of the H5N2 case in Mexico serves as a reminder of the need for vigilance and monitoring to prevent potential outbreaks in the future.