Swine flu: first human case of flu strain H1N2 found in the UK, says UKHSA
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that the UK's first human case of the rare flu strain H1N2 has been detected.
The rare flu strain is similar to that which has been found circulating in pigs. The case was picked up on amid routine testing in GP surgeries after a patient presented with mild respiratory issues as at surgery in North Yorkshire.
Contact tracing is currently underway by the UKHSA to prevent any further spread of the virus. It is not currently known how transmissible the virus is or if there are already other cases in the country. The agency also said that anyone experiencing respiratory problems should follow the existing advice around illness and avoid contact with others, especially vulnerable and elderly people.
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.”
The strain itself is rare, with only 50 reported cases worldwide. While the H1N2 strain is found circulating in pigs, the patient is not known to have worked closely with swine and has fully recovered.
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.”