WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — A man’s death in Mexico was caused by a strain of bird flu called H5N2 that was not before found in a human, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The WHO said it wasn’t clear how the man became infected, although H5N2 is known to be among poultry in Mexico. Health authorities are closely watching for any signs that the viruses are evolving to spread easily from person to person.

The identified variations of bird flu include H5N1 that has infected multiple dairy cow herds in the U.S. Three farmworkers have gotten mild infections.

There were also 18 people reported dead in China during an outbreak of H5N6 in 2021, according to a timeline of bird flu outbreaks from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mexican health officials alerted the WHO on the H5N2 case, noting that a 59-year-old man who died in a Mexico City hospital had the virus despite no known exposure to poultry or other animals.

According to family members, the WHO release said, the patient had been bedridden for unrelated reasons before developing a fever, shortness of breath and diarrhea on April 17. Mexico’s public health department said in a statement that he had underlying ailments, including chronic kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure. Hospital care was sought on April 24 and the man died the same day.

Initial tests showed an unidentified type of flu that subsequent lab testing confirmed was H5N2.

No further human cases have been discovered on this variation, despite testing people who came in contact with the deceased man both at home and in the hospital.

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