First Human Fatality from Avian Influenza Reported by World Health Organization

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that Mexico has reported the first human fatality from avian influenza A(H5N2) globally. The victim, a 59-year-old resident of the State of Mexico, was hospitalized in Mexico City. Notably, the patient had no known exposure to poultry or other animals, according to WHO.

The individual had multiple underlying medical conditions and had been bedridden for three weeks before developing acute symptoms for other reasons, as reported by their family. The source of the virus exposure remains unidentified.

In March, a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak occurred in a backyard poultry farm in Michoacán, which is adjacent to the patient’s residence. Similarly, in the State of Mexico, there was an outbreak of low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) in March and a second LPAI outbreak in April.

WHO stated that it is currently unclear if the human case is linked to the recent poultry outbreaks. No additional human cases have been reported following the epidemiological investigation. Out of the 17 individuals who had contact with the patient, none tested positive for avian influenza.

The risk to the general population from this virus is considered low by WHO.