A man’s death in Mexico was caused by a strain of bird flu called H5N2 that has never before been found in a human, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. However, the UN agency did not reveal how the man got infected.
The 59-year-old man died in a Mexico City hospital. He had been bedridden for unrelated reasons before developing a fever, shortness of breath and diarrhea on April 17 and had underlying ailments, including chronic kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure.Hospital care was sought on April 24 and the man died the same day, the WHO press release has said.

The death has been caused by H5N2

H5N2 is a subtype of the avian influenza virus primarily affecting birds, particularly poultry. It is highly contagious among avian species, causing severe respiratory illness and high mortality rates in infected flocks. While H5N2 can occasionally infect humans, such cases are rare and typically occur through direct contact with infected birds or contaminated environments.

Preventative measures include biosecurity practices in poultry farms, vaccination programs, and monitoring and controlling bird populations to prevent outbreaks. Continued surveillance and research are essential to manage the spread of H5N2 and mitigate its impact on both avian and human health.

Animal to human transmission of bird flu

WHO explains: Animal influenza viruses normally circulate in animals but can also infect humans. Infections in humans have primarily been acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments. Depending on the original host, influenza A viruses can be classified as avian influenza, swine influenza, or other types of animal influenza viruses.
Avian influenza virus infections in humans may cause mild to severe upper respiratory tract infections and can be fatal. Conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, encephalitis and encephalopathy have also been reported.

Humans can contract bird flu, primarily through direct contact with infected birds, their droppings, or contaminated environments. This typically occurs in people who work with poultry or live near infected birds. Symptoms in humans include fever, cough, sore throat, and sometimes severe respiratory issues. While rare, human infections can be serious and even fatal. The most concerning strains, like H5N1 and H7N9, have caused significant outbreaks.

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