Mexico says patient died of chronic disease, not H5N2 bird flu

WHO describes case as a ‘multifactorial death’

A man who contracted bird flu in Mexico died due to chronic diseases and not the virus, Mexico’s health ministry said on Friday.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization reported the first laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with A(H5N2) avian influenza in Mexico.

In a Friday press conference in Geneva, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier described the man’s case as a “multifactorial death” and noted that experts were still investigating whether he was infected by someone or by contact with animals.

Mexico’s health ministry on Friday stressed that the 59-year-old man’s death was due to chronic conditions that led to septic shock, and was not attributed to the virus.

“The diseases were long-term and caused conditions that led to the failure of several organs,” the ministry said, citing the findings by a team of experts.

The man had chronic kidney disease, diabetes and arterial hypertension over the past 14 years, according to health officials.

The ministry added that there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the A(H5N2) virus stemming from the case. 

Scientists have been on alert for changes in the virus that could signal it is adapting to spread more easily among humans.