The World Health Organization reports the first confirmed human death from bird flu strain H5N2

The World Health Organization has confirmed the first laboratory-confirmed human fatality from H5N2 bird flu. The victim, a 59-year-old Mexican resident, experienced symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, nausea, and diarrhea before passing away on April 24th. This marks the world’s initial documented human case of this specific bird flu subtype and the first H5 infection reported in Mexico. Despite no history of exposure to poultry or animals, the deceased had multiple underlying health conditions and had been bedridden for three weeks due to other ailments before exhibiting bird flu symptoms.

Prior to confirming the H5N2 case, the potential for human infection remained unclear. While avian flu viruses typically do not affect humans, rare cases do occur. The H5N1, H7N9, and H5N6 subtypes have been primarily responsible for human infections, ranging from asymptomatic to severe illness and death, as noted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Human cases usually stem from exposure to infected birds’ bodily secretions, with transmission among humans being extremely rare. However, continuous monitoring is vital to detect any mutations that could facilitate easier transmission among humans.

In response to outbreaks, authorities often implement mass bird culls to contain the infection. Recently, Australia’s Victoria state has identified the H7N3 strain at three farms and the H7N9 strain at a fourth, leading to plans for culling hundreds of thousands of birds.

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