WHO confirms first death from bird flu strain not seen before in humans

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday a man in Mexico died from a strain of bird flu, H5N2, that had not previously been reported in humans.

The strain is different from the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, which has caused an outbreak among livestock in the U.S. and has infected three dairy farm workers.

The WHO said the current risk of the virus to the general population is “low.”

A 59-year-old man from the State of Mexico died on April 24, the same day he was hospitalized in Mexico City. A week earlier, on April 17, he had developed symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea and general malaise, the WHO said.

The man previously had “multiple underlying medical conditions,” his relatives told the WHO, and he had been bedridden for three weeks before the onset of acute symptoms. He died from “complications of his condition.”

The WHO said he had no prior exposure to poultry or other animals, and the source of exposure to the virus was still unknown.

Mexico has seen other cases of H5N2 among its poultry, but the WHO said it has not been able to establish a connection to the human case.

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