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WHO Reveals First Human Case of H5N2 Bird Flu Ended in Fatality

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A picture of World Health Organization
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WHO Reveals First Human Case of H5N2 Bird Flu Ended in Fatality

Source: Pinterest

The World Health Organization has identified the first human infection of H5N2 bird flu, which was fatal. 

 

This development has shaken the global health fraternity because it has shown that this highly pathogenic avian influenza can easily spread from birds to humans.

The First Human Case

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The first verified human case of the H5N2 type of bird flu was found in a 59-year-old Mexican male who passed away in April 2024 according to a World Health Organisation report released. 

 

The WHO reports that the guy had no history of contact with chickens or other animals, which heightens worries about the human transmission of bird flu.

Global Health Concern

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The WHO has recently released a statement where this virus could gain international circulation. 

 

“This case underscores the need to remain vigilant and ready for avian influenza viruses,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

H5N2 Bird Flu

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H5N2 is an AIV subtype that is considered to be highly pathogenic and has the potential to be lethal in birds. It has been present in birds across the world, and its zoonotic potential poses a threat to humans.  

 

There are several different types of avian flu, H5N2 being just one of them. Does it truly pose such a serious risk to people’s health? Dr. Troy Sutton, an associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences at Penn State, stated that exposure to an H5 illness in Mexico is not unusual.

 

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Risk Assessment

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The WHO has stated that H5N2 is not easily transmissible from birds to humans, however, they have pointed out that such occurrences should encourage further monitoring. 

 

The organization encourages all nations to do everything possible to avoid spreading the threatening disease any further and to come forward with any likely incidents immediately.

Details About the Patient

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The Mexican patient had been bedridden for several weeks before showing symptoms. On April 17, the guy experienced fever, nausea, diarrhea, dyspnea, and general malaise, as reported by the WHO. 

 

A week later, on April 24, 2024, he was admitted to the hospital, where he died the same day. It’s critical to remember, according to Sutton, that the individual had other underlying medical issues, which most likely made his illness worse.

 

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Avian Flu Outbreaks

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There have been instances where avian influenza has occurred in different parts of the globe with countries of China, Japan, and South Korea being among them. The WHO has pointed out that such outbreaks present a high risk to the general populace and that more caution is required.

 

However, as a result of the man’s lack of exposure to poultry or other animals, researchers are still unclear about how he came into contact with the virus.

Global Response

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The WHO is strategically collaborating with national governments, global counterparts as well as other relevant actors to address this outbreak. 

 

The organization is supporting the countries that have been affected by the virus by offering proper guidance.

The Virus Subtypes

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H5N2 is a bird flu virus that belongs to the H5 family, which primarily infects wild birds. The H5 virus has been shown to contain nine different subtypes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

 

Sutton claims that H5N1 is often linked to highly contagious H5 viruses called the “Goose Guangdong lineage,” which over the past 20 years have caused multiple outbreaks in poultry and sporadic human illnesses.

Public Health Measures

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The WHO has identified several public health interventions to address transmission risks such as increasing vigilance for AI viruses in birds, and increasing the protection of patients and healthcare workers against HAIVs.

 

Further, raising awareness among the public, the risk assessment, and response planning that are involved in controlling the spread of illnesses.

 

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Widespread of the Virus

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H5 viruses have been spreading among wild birds and poultry in Mexico since the mid-1990s. 

 

H5 viruses, on the other hand, hardly ever infect people, in contrast to H1 and H3 viruses, other avian influenza variants that have affected humans.

International Collaboration

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The WHO has been keen on the fact that this outbreak requires global cooperation in addressing the issue. 

 

Particularly national authorities, international partners, and other stakeholders have been contacted and are involved in information exchange and cooperation.

Highly Pathogenic Virus

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A H5N2 bird flu case involves the first human fatality as the virus is highly pathogenic and has the potential to become a worldwide pandemic. 

 

WHO insists that countries must act to prevent the virus from spreading further and advises everyone to report any suspected cases as soon as possible. To avoid any future epidemics and thus the health of people, we need more and more awareness and cooperation.

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