Mexico Clarifies First Reported Human H5N2 Bird Flu Death Was Due to Chronic Disease, Not the Virus

By Madz Dizon

Jun 07, 2024 06:12 PM EDT

Mexico Clarifies First Reported Human H5N2 Bird Flu Death Was Due to Chronic Disease, Not the Virus
Chickens are pictured at a poultry farm in Tepatitlan, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 6, 2024. The World Health Organization said on June 6, 2024, it was awaiting full genetic sequence data after a man died of bird flu in Mexico in the first confirmed human infection with the H5N2 strain. The source of exposure to the virus was unknown, the WHO said, although cases of H5N2 have been reported in poultry in Mexico.
(Photo : ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday (June 7) that a person who caught the H5N2 bird flu, a strain that has not previously infected humans, has sadly passed away due to multiple factors.

The WHO is currently conducting ongoing investigations into the case. 

Mexican Man Reported to Contract H5N2 Bird Flu Died of Multiple Factors

A laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with H5N2 avian influenza virus has been reported from Mexico, according to the announcement made by the World Health Organization on Wednesday (June 5).

The health ministry of Mexico reported that the individual, aged 59, had a medical background that included chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and long-standing systemic arterial hypertension, Reuters reported.

The individual experienced a period of immobility lasting three weeks before experiencing sudden and severe symptoms, including fever, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, and overall discomfort on April 17.

A man was transported to a hospital in Mexico City on April 24 and unfortunately passed away later that day.

"The death is a result of multiple factors, not solely attributed to H5N2," stated Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization, during a media briefing in Geneva on Friday.

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Bird Flu Outbreak in Mexico

According to Lindmeier, H5N2 was detected during routine testing for flu and other viruses. A total of seventeen individuals who had come into contact with the patient at the hospital have been identified. All results came back negative for influenza.

At the individual's residence, a total of 12 individuals were contacted in the weeks leading up to the incident. All others tested negative as well.

According to the WHO, the origin of the virus' exposure is currently unidentified, although there have been reports of H5N2 viruses in Mexican poultry. The virus is currently considered to pose a low risk to the general population, as assessed by the health agency of the United Nations.

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