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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday confirmed the death of a 59 year old man due to bird flu. “On 23 May 2024, the Mexico IHR NFP reported to PAHO/WHO a confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N2) virus detected in a 59-year-old resident of the State of Mexico who was hospitalized in Mexico City and had no history of exposure to poultry or other animals.The case had multiple underlying medical conditions. The case’s relatives reported that the case had already been bedridden for three weeks, for other reasons, prior to the onset of acute symptoms,” WHO has said in a press release.
Now, with the first human death of bird flu a big and threatening question arises: Can bird flu virus be passed on from one infected human to another?
“No evidence, so far”
There has so far been no evidence of person-to-person transmission of bird flu in the case of a man who died from the disease in Mexico, the nation’s health ministry said on Wednesday. The man had several prior health conditions, the ministry said in a statement, and all people who had contact with him have tested negative.
The WHO’s press release says, 17 contacts of the deceased person were identified and monitored at the hospital out of which one reported a runny nose between 28 and 29 April. Samples taken from these hospital contacts between 27 and 29 May tested negative for influenza and SARS-CoV 2, the WHO has said. Twelve additional contacts (seven symptomatic and five asymptomatic) which were identified near the case’s residence were also found to be negative for flu.

The Mexico health ministry has confirmed that bird flu detected does not represent risk to the population. It also says that the source of infection in this case has not been identified.
H5N2 bird flu
In March 2024, a high pathogenicity avian influenza A(H5N2) outbreak was detected in a backyard poultry farm in the state of Michoacán, which borders the State of Mexico where the case was residing, the WHO has said.

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H5N2 is a subtype of the avian influenza virus, primarily affecting birds, including domestic poultry and wild waterfowl. It is a highly pathogenic strain, meaning it can cause severe disease and high mortality rates in infected bird populations. While H5N2 primarily poses a threat to the poultry industry, causing significant economic losses, it has a low risk of transmission to humans. Effective biosecurity practices and surveillance are essential in managing H5N2 outbreaks.
(With inputs from Reuters, AP)





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