First Human Case Of Flu Strain Similar To That Of Pigs Detected In UK

Authorities detected the first human case of flu strain that is similar to the virus affecting pigs.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected a single confirmed human case of influenza A(H1N2)v.

swine flu

(Photo : Getty Images/STRDEL/AFP)

First Human Case Detected

Experts said that influenza A(H1N2)v is similar to the flu viruses currently circulating in pigs in the UK. They noted that this is the first detection of this strain of flu in a human being in the country.

They said that as usual in emerging infection events, officials from the UKHSA are working closely with partners to determine the characteristics of the pathogen and assess the risk to human health.

According to UKHSAA, the first human case was detected as part of the routine national flu surveillance undertaken by UKHSA and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

”It is thanks to routine flu surveillance and genome sequencing that we have been able to detect this virus. This is the first time we have detected this virus in humans in the UK, though it is very similar to viruses that have been detected in pigs,” Meera Chand, Incident Director at UKHSA, said.

The individual was tested by their GP after experiencing respiratory symptoms.

Furthermore, the influenza A(H1N2)v virus was detected by UKHSA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and characterized using genome sequencing.

Physicians noted that the individual concerned experienced a mild illness, adding that the patient has already fully recovered. The source of their infection has not yet been ascertained as it also remains under investigation by experts.

Meanwhile, close contacts of the case are being followed up by UKHSA and partner organizations.

Any contacts will be provided with testing as necessary and it has also been advised that they will be given any necessary care if they have symptoms or test positive.

Read Also: Avian Influenza Epidemic: H5N1 Variant at Mink Farm in Galicia, Spain Reported for the First Time

Increasing Surveillance

At present, the UKHSA is monitoring the situation closely and is taking steps to increase surveillance within existing programs involving GP surgeries and hospitals in parts of North Yorkshire.

Authorities said that in order to assist in the detection of cases and assessment of transmission, those people who are contacted and asked to test are encouraged to do the measures being imposed by health officials.

Chand said authorities are currently working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread.

Moreover, Chand added that in accordance with established protocols, investigations are underway to learn how the individual acquired the infection and to assess whether there are any further associated cases.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said that some diseases of animals could really be transferred to humans – which is why high standards of animal health, welfare and biosecurity are so important.

Middlemiss said that through the animal and human surveillance systems, experts work together to protect the public from the virus.

”In this case we are providing specialist veterinary and scientific knowledge to support the UKHSA investigation. Pig keepers must also report any suspicion of swine flu in their herds to their local vet immediately,” Middlemiss said.

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