First Human Death From Bird Flu Strain Recorded in Mexico

First Human Death From Bird Flu Strain Recorded in Mexico
Above: A man in a protective body suit walks past a sign warning of an outbreak of the H7 strain of bird flu, at Eastwood Farm, near Banbury on June 4, 2008 in Oxfordshire, England. Image copyright: Matt Cardy/Stringer/Getty Images News

The Facts

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the first-ever human death from the H5N2 strain of bird flu has been recorded in Mexico, despite the victim having no known exposure to poultry or other animals.

  • The 59-year-old man died in April and was suffering from preexisting ailments such as kidney failure. He was admitted to the hospital with nausea, fever, and shortness of breath before dying the same day from what lab tests confirmed was the H5N2 virus.

The Spin

Narrative A

The proliferation of the H5 strain of bird flu is a ticking time bomb for public health authorities. The virus has already mutated to spread via respiratory means, making it much more infectious than before. Coupled with a lack of comprehensive testing and the precarious nature of farm work, there's a chance this disease could explode before we can get appropriate measures in place. The time for effective prevention is quickly running out.

Narrative B

Coming off the heels of COVID, public health authorities have lost the trust of the public, and their dire predictions will fall on deaf ears for good reason. Bird flu is not new, and has not shown itself to be a huge concern for humans. Big pharma and the media benefit from panic, but their bungling of the COVID response has greatly reduced the value we place on their claims. 2024 should not be a repeat of 2020.

Metaculus Prediction

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