First Human Death from H5N2 Bird Flu Confirmed in Mexico, WHO Reports

GENEVA – The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the first fatal human case of H5N2 bird flu in Mexico, marking a significant development in the ongoing monitoring of avian influenza, the organization announced on June 5.

According to the WHO, a 59-year-old individual passed away on April 24 after experiencing symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and nausea. The person had no known exposure to poultry or animals but had underlying medical conditions, as reported by Mexican health authorities.

This incident marks the first laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with the H5N2 variant globally. The patient, a resident of the State of Mexico, was hospitalized in Mexico City and died the same day, according to the WHO statement.

The source of exposure to the virus remains unknown, although cases of H5N2 have been detected in poultry in Mexico. Despite outbreaks in poultry farms, establishing a direct link between the human case and these infections has been challenging.

Mexican health authorities emphasized that there is no risk of contagion for the general population and that all identified contacts of the patient have tested negative. Measures are in place to monitor farms near the victim’s residence, and a permanent monitoring system has been established to detect any potential cases in wildlife in the area.

The emergence of this human case highlights the importance of ongoing surveillance and response efforts to monitor and mitigate the spread of avian influenza viruses, particularly those with the potential to infect humans.