“WHO confirms that the first death from avian flu worldwide was in Mexico


The WHO evaluates as low the current risk this virus poses to the general population.

According to a report issued on Wednesday, June 5th by the global health organization, it involves a 59-year-old man who had no prior exposure to poultry or other animals of the type.

First confirmed case of avian flu worldwide

The WHO alerted that it is the first laboratory-confirmed human infection reported globally and the first reported influenza A(H5N2) in a person in Mexico.

Although the source of virus exposure in this case is currently unknown, reports of A(H5N2) viruses have been made on poultry in Mexico.

According to RSI (2005), a human infection caused by a new subtype of the influenza A virus has the potential to have a high impact on public health and must be notified to WHO.

Based on available information, WHO evaluates as low the current risk this virus poses to the general population.

On April 17th, the man developed fever, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, and general discomfort; however, it wasn’t until April 24th that he sought medical attention and was hospitalized at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases “Ismael Cosío Villegas” (INER) and died on the same day due to complications from his illness.

The PCR sample collected and analyzed at INER indicated a non-subtypable influenza virus. On May 8th, the sample was sent for sequencing to the Molecular Biology Laboratory of Emerging Diseases at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIENI) at INER, which showed that the sample was positive for influenza A(H5N2).

On May 20th, the sample was received at the Institute of Diagnosis and Epidemiological Reference (InDRE) at the National Center for Influenza in Mexico, for RT-PCR analysis, obtaining a positive result for influenza A. On May 22nd, DNA sequencing confirmed that the subtype of influenza was A(H5N2).

No more cases were reported during the epidemiological investigation. Of the 17 identified and followed contacts at the hospital where the case died, one reported nasal secretion between April 28th and 29th.

Twelve additional contacts (seven symptomatic and five asymptomatic) were identified near the patient’s residence. Samples of faringeal exudate, nasopharyngeal swabs, and serum were obtained from these individuals. On May 28th, InDRE reported that the twelve samples of close contacts to the patient’s residence tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, and influenza B, as determined by RT-PCR. The results of serological samples are pending.

In March 2024, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu A(H5N2) was detected on a poultry farm in the state of Michoacán, bordering with the State of Mexico where the patient lived.”

Source: Telediario