WHO confirms first fatal human case of bird flu

2024 05 25t130712z 1919635511 Rc
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the first fatal case of the A(H5N2) subtype of avian influenza in a human in Mexico.

This is the first global case of human infection with this specific strain and the first human H5N2 case reported in Mexico.

The deceased, a 59-year-old resident of Mexico State, died in a Mexico City hospital on April 24 after experiencing symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, nausea, and general discomfort.

“Although the source of exposure to the virus in this case is currently unknown, A(H5N2) viruses have been reported in poultry in Mexico,” the WHO mentioned in its announcement.

Despite no reported contact with poultry or other animals, the individual reportedly had underlying medical conditions and was bedridden for weeks before developing severe symptoms.

In March, Mexican authorities reported an isolated outbreak of A(H5N2) in western Michoacán, assuring the public there was no risk to farms or human health.

Following the April death, however, Mexico confirmed the presence of the virus and promptly reported the case to the WHO.

No indication of the virus being transmissible between humans

The World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasizes that current information suggests that “this virus has not acquired the ability to transmit easily among humans”, and assesses “the current risk to the general population posed by this virus to be low.”

Contact tracing identified no additional cases.

Individuals who had contact with the deceased were tested for various influenza strains and COVID-19, with all results negative.

While avian influenza has been detected in mammals like seals and cattle, this is primarily due to contact with infected birds.

Scientists are vigilant for mutations that could make the virus more transmissible among humans.

The United States reported three human infections since March, likely from exposure to infected dairy cows.

Two cases showed only conjunctivitis, while the third also had respiratory symptoms.

Australia reported its first human case of A(H5N1) infection in May but without evidence of human-to-human transmission.

They did identify additional cases of avian influenza H7 in poultry farms.

The Hellenic Society of Infectious Diseases has already published informational resources on avian influenza.

(information from in.gr)

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