Posted: Mon 27th Nov 2023

UK detects first human case of swine flu strain

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Nov 27th, 2023

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

The discovery marks the first known instance in the UK of this specific strain of flu – which has been circulating in pigs – infecting a human.

The individual in question, who was diagnosed through routine national flu surveillance, experienced only mild symptoms and has since fully recovered.

The case was identified by the UKHSA in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) as part of their ongoing efforts to monitor flu activity.

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

To assist in the detection of cases and assessment of transmission, those people who are contacted and asked to test are encouraged to do so.

Meera Chand, Incident Director at UKHSA, said:

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.

We are working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread. 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:

We know that some diseases of animals can be transferred to humans – which is why high standards of animal health, welfare and biosecurity are so important.

Through our animal and human surveillance systems we work together to protect everyone. 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.

Background and Global Context

Influenza A(H1) viruses are commonly found in swine populations globally.

The recent UK case of A(H1N2)v is distinct from previous human cases elsewhere but shares similarities with viruses found in UK swine.

It’s important to note that this virus is different from the influenza A H1N1(pdm09) virus, which caused a global pandemic in 2009 and is now a regular seasonal flu virus in humans.

 

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