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Posted: 28th November 2023

Human swine flu case discovered in UK
Pig keepers are urged to report any suspicion of swine flu to their vet immediately.
UKHSA is stepping up surveillance measures.

Health officials have confirmed the first human case of influenza A(H1N2)v in the UK, a strain similar to the flu viruses currently circulating in pigs.

The case was detected as part of routine flu surveillance by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Royal College of General Practitioners after an unnamed individual in North Yorkshire visited their GP earlier this month with respiratory symptoms.

The individual has since recovered after what has been described as a ‘mild illness’. It is not yet known how they caught the virus.

UKHSA said that it is working closely with partners to determine the characteristics of the virus and assess the risk to human health. It is also increasing flu surveillance in the local area.

Meera Chand, incident director at UKHSA, said: “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.”

Since 2005, there have been 50 recorded cases of influenza A(H1N2)v globally. This is the first case in the UK.

Early information indicates that the individual was infected with a clade (1b.1.1) that is similar to the viruses circulating in UK pigs but different from other recent cases of influenza A(H1N2) in humans.

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.”

Image © Shutterstock

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