WHO Confirms First Fatal Case of Avian Flu A(H5N2)

Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Denis Balibouse/Reuters

The World Health Organization confirmed on Wednesday that it recorded the first fatal case of avian influenza A(H5N2), a subtype of the virus, in Mexico.

On April 17, a 59-year-old resident of the state of Mexico, had symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea and general malaise, according to the WHO. The person then sought medical attention on April 24 at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases and died the same day.

Researchers conducted tests on the person’s body and detected the A(H5N2) virus on May 23, according to the WHO.

A(H5N2) is a different strain of avian influenza virus than H5N1, which has been circulating through the U.S. but has not yet made the leap from animals to humans.

The WHO also reported that the person had no known interactions with poultry or other animals.

The researchers then conducted contact tracing of the case. Of the 17 people the case interacted with, only one reported a runny nose on May 28 or 29, and none tested positive for the virus.

Back in March, an outbreak of A(H5N2) was reported in a backyard poultry farm in the state of Michoacán, which borders the state of Mexico.

The WHO reported that this strain had “high pathogenicity,” though no known human cases have occurred as a result.

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