UK Reports First Human Case Of Swine Flu

On Monday, the UK Health Security Agency announced the identification of the first human case of the H1N2 swine flu strain, closely resembling the variant circulating in pigs.

The case came to light through routine surveillance conducted in general practitioner surgeries triggered by the individual’s experience of a mild illness.

To curb any potential spread of the virus, the UKHSA is currently engaged in contact tracing efforts. However, it remains uncertain how easily transmissible the strain is or if additional cases exist within the UK.

The pandemic potential of the strain is undetermined at this early stage, and the UKHSA has promptly informed the World Health Organization about the latest case.

Since 2005, there have been approximately 50 reported human cases of the H1N2 virus globally, with no genetic links to the current strain.

The individual affected is not known to have had contact with pigs and has fully recovered from the illness. The case was detected as part of the regular national flu surveillance conducted by the UKHSA and the Royal College of GPs, a practice established before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following respiratory symptoms experienced by the patient in North Yorkshire, their GP conducted tests, revealing the strain through Polymerase Chain Reaction testing and genome sequencing.

The UKHSA emphasizes that individuals with respiratory symptoms should continue following existing guidance, including avoiding contact with others while symptomatic and exercising extra caution around vulnerable individuals and the elderly.

It said it was “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 do the test are encouraged to do so.”

Meera Chand, incident director at the 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.”

According to preliminary data, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported that the variant identified in the UK distinguishes itself from recent instances of H1N2 in humans worldwide yet exhibits similarities to viruses found in pigs in the UK.

In 2009, a global pandemic in humans was triggered by the H1N1 influenza strain, commonly known as swine flu.

Culled from Naijanews