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WHO reports first death after human infection from avian influenza virus

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First Death from Avian Influenza- primer caso mortal, influenza aviar, virus A(H5N2), México, MundoNOW
First Death from Avian Influenza (PHOTO: Shutterstock)
  • First Death from Avian Influenza
  • A(H5N2) Virus in Mexico
  • Low Risk to the Population

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the first fatal case of human infection with the avian influenza A(H5N2) virus in Mexico.

The infection was detected in a resident of the State of Mexico who was hospitalized in Mexico City.

This event, reported on May 23, 2024, marks the first laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with the A(H5N2) virus worldwide.

It is also the first infection with the H5 avian virus in a person in Mexico, according to a WHO statement.


WHO, human infection, H5 avian virus, public health, First Death from Avian Influenza
First death from avian influenza PHOTO Shutterstock

Although the source of exposure to the virus in this case is still unknown, the presence of the A(H5N2) virus has been reported in poultry in Mexico.

According to the International Health Regulations, a human infection caused by a new subtype of the influenza A virus is an event that must be reported to the WHO.

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This is because «it has the potential to have a high impact on public health,» the WHO detailed in the statement.

Animal influenza viruses usually circulate among animals.

However, they can infect humans through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments.

Despite the severity of the individual case, the WHO assesses the current risk this virus poses to the general population is low.

Infections with the avian influenza virus in humans can cause everything from mild upper respiratory tract infections to severe and potentially fatal diseases.

Additionally, symptoms such as conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, encephalitis, and encephalopathy have been recorded in some cases.

To diagnose human influenza infection, specific laboratory tests are required.

Evidence suggests that some antiviral drugs, particularly neuraminidase inhibitors such as oseltamivir and zanamivir, may reduce the duration of viral replication.

As well as improve survival prospects in some cases, according to WHO in a statement.

This tragic case highlights the need for ongoing surveillance and rapid response to the emergence of new subtypes of the influenza virus.

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