Swine Flu Outbreak: New Strain of the Pig-Borne Disease Recorded from First Human Case in the UK

A swine flu outbreak has sparked growing concerns across the United Kingdom, after local health authorities discovered a new strain of the pig-borne disease recorded from a first human case.

The new swine flu virus strain was detected after a person tested positive for Influenza A H1N2v, which is distinct yet a similar virus to the flu viruses spreading between pigs across the country. The unnamed patient first experienced respiratory symptoms, including mild illness, before being tested earlier this month.

The swine flu, also called the swine influenza, is a respiratory disease that infects pigs and it is caused by type A influenza virus, which is responsible for causing previous related outbreaks in pigs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regarding the new strain’s first human case, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that the novel virus is genetically unique compared with other swine influenza human cases globally.

UK Swine Flu Outbreak

Swine Flu Outbreak

(Photo : Photo by Kenneth Schipper Vera on Unspla)

Based on a news release by the UK Government on Monday, November 27, the UKHSA detected a single confirmed human case of the new strain of the swine flu outbreak, also spelled as influenza A(H1N2)v. The UK health agency also verifies that this is the first detection of the flu strain in a human in the UK. This prompted an emergency response, including contact tracing of people related to the patient.

The individual in question is from North Yorkshire and was tested as part of a routine national flu surveillance by UKHSA and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The novel swine flu virus was detected using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and through genome sequencing. The infected patient has now fully recovered.

However, the main cause of the infection remains unclear and the case is still subject for investigation. Due to the swine flu threat, the UKHSA is monitoring the situation and is increasing surveillance, especially in parts of North Yorkshire.

Also Read: Swine Flu Becoming More Resistant To ‘Tamiflu,’ Scientists Say

Was the Swine Flu a Pandemic?

Prior to the new strain of the current swine flu outbreak, the pig-borne disease has already been around for more than a decade and even became a pandemic back in 2009, where millions of people became infected. It was caused by a virus containing genetic material from viruses that were circulating between humans, birds, and pigs.

According to the UKHSA, the recently found first human case of the new swine flu strain in the UK was different from at least 50 other human cases of the strain detected elsewhere around the world since 2005. This could be the case since swine flu viruses, just like other influenza viruses in humans and other animals, change constantly, according to the CDC.

Aside from fever, the common symptoms of swine flue or H1N1 influenza are the following:

  •  Cough
  •  Sore throat
  •  Body aches
  •  Headaches
  •  Chills and fatigue
  •  Diarrhea and vomiting

Related Article: African Swine Fever Threat in US: Simulation Study Reveals the Challenges and Costs of Containing an Outbreak

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